Pressure is still on PNE players
Simon Grayson will continue to breathe down his Preston North End players' necks over the final few months of the season.
PNE have played themselves into a position where the pressure appears to be off them.
Sitting in 11th spot in the Championship table with a sizeable 16-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone, PNE look to have ‘broken the back’ of their No.1 target this season.
Consolidating their position in the second tier of English football has always been the primary aim after winning promotion from League One last season.
Although mathematically not safe, it looks a certainty that North End will not be dropping back into the division below any time soon.
However, Grayson said there will be no resting on any laurels over the next 15 games – the PNE boss insisting his players perform better when pressure is being placed upon them.
And a win today over promotion-chasing Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale could move North End ever closer to the play-offs.
“I suppose you could say that there is a little bit of pressure off the players because we are not down near the bottom,” said Grayson.
“But I think the players thrive when they are under pressure as well.
“Even when they were in the bottom three, we showed a lot of character.
“Every game you play in this division there is pressure because of the players and the clubs that you are coming up against. The players will be driving each other on – that’s where the pressure comes from.”
Meanwhile, Grayson was remaining philosophical about the prospect of keeping Adam Reach beyond this season.
The 23-year-old arrived at Deepdale earlier this season on loan from Middlesbrough and has impressed greatly in the 22 games he has played so far.
“We will approach the summer market when it’s the right time,” said Grayson.
“The problem you have with loan players like Adam, they are not ours so we’ll see what happens.”
Utilised in a variety of positions by Grayson, Reach arguably had his best game so far against Wolves last week when he played as a No.10 behind lone striker Joe Garner.
Reach struck the winning goal at Molineux and his performance handed Grayson a great deal of satisfaction.
“Adam can play that position,” said Grayson. “But he can also play out wide, as we have already seen this season and has played wing-back.
“The kid is a good player. We are very lucky to have him.
“No matter which position we play him in, he’s got the ability to go out and hurt defenders.
“We will have to wait and see where he plays this weekend against Sheffield Wednesday.
“He thrived in that role last week.”