Preston and Bristol City eye victory for different reasons
Preston North End renew rivalries with Bristol City at Deepdale this evening, with Simon Grayson admitting that a win is vital for both teams.
The Lilywhites are aiming to stay in play-off contention while City sit uncomfortably just above the bottom three.
With much at stake, PNE manager Grayson predicts an exciting battle against the side they were promoted with two years ago.
An added ingredient to the mix is Bailey Wright’s return to Lancashire with the Robins, so too that of Josh Brownhill.
“We know all about Bristol City and they know about us,” said Grayson.
“There were a lot of battles with them in League One and we’ve had some good results down at their place.
“They’ve got players who played for us in the past and they need the points as much as we do. I think it is a game where both teams needs to win.
“That should make it an entertaining game like it was at the weekend.
“We will try and build off parts of Saturday’s game and improve on it, try and get three points because Deepdale has been a good place for us.”
North End bid farewell to Wright in January, having done so last June in the case of Brownhill.
Grayson bids neither lad any ill-will and enjoyed his time managing both.
“When Bailey left, I said that players come and go to clubs, so do managers, but supporters have a club in the blood,” Grayson said.
“Bailey made a decision that he felt was the right one for him, we wanted to keep him but he moved on.
“Others have left this club and have we suffered? I would like to think not.
“I loved working with Bailey, he is a really good lad.
“Have we missed him since he left, hand on heart probably not.
“Andy Boyle has come in and shown what he is all about and we’ve got Alex Baptiste.”
North End will have Daniel Johnson and Simon Makienok back in the squad tonight after both missed the Nottingham Forest game.
Johnson was attending the birth of his daughter, while Makienok had to return to Denmark due to a family issue.
Said Grayson: “DJ became a dad late on Saturday night, he looked a bit weary when he came in yesterday and I can assure him that it won’t get any easier over the next few months!
“Simon is also back after having to go home and he will be in contention.”
“We got a few knocks on Saturday as you always do at this stage of a demanding season and we can freshen it up if we need to.
“Depending on which system we choose to play, we have players who can come in and adapt to what we want.”