Back four solidity

Greg Cunningham
Greg Cunningham
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Simon Grayson says Preston North End’s defensive solidity was the big plus for him from the last two away games.

The 0-0 draws at Wigan and Barnsley came either side of home wins over Brentford and Birmingham City.

While disappointed not to have won at the DW Stadium after an early penalty miss by Jordan Hugill, the clean sheet pleased PNE boss Grayson.

North End limited Wigan to a single shot on target and in general handled home striker Omar Bogle well.

Grayson said: “In the last two away games, since we put the defeat at Cardiff behind us, we have kept clean sheets.

“We want to be solid in the away games because we feel that if we keep a clean sheet we have the players to win it at the other end.

“That didn’t happen at Barnsley and Wigan in terms of scoring but defensively we were very good.

“The whole back four were very good at Wigan, Tyias Browning has settled well with us and Greg Cunningham made a great block at the end.

“What was missing was a bit of cutting edge from our key attacking players in the final third.

“I think that was down to the opposition showing us plenty of respect.

“When we look at the team we are playing next, we will warn our lads about who can be a threat.

“Other teams will look at us and say ‘they have McGeady, Robinson, Horgan, Hugill who can cause problems.”

Grayson is pleased to have a clear midweek with his squad ahead of Saturday’s clash with Queens Park Rangers.

It will give the chance for a few knocks to clear up, Greg Cunningham limping through the last few minutes at Wigan.

“Greg got caught on the top of the foot towards the end on Saturday,” said Grayson.

“He should be alright and finished the game.

“It was a busy time for us last week with the three games.

“We played well to get the wins against Brentford and Birmingham and then went to Wigan.

“Seven points from nine in a week was decent going and it could have been all nine.

“When you look at our record over the last few months, it is four defeats in 25 league games.

“That is some going in the Championship and the lads deserve a lot of credit for that consistency.

“We are now focused on playing Queens Park Rangers who had a fantastic result at Birmingham on Saturday.

“It will be another tough game as they all are in the Championship.

“We will have a look at them but also focus on our game, look to produce the type of attacking football we played in the wins over Brentford and Birmingham.”