Don’t let the season fade urges Grayson

Tommy Spurr challenges Josh Murphy in PNE's defeat to Norwich at Deepdale
Tommy Spurr challenges Josh Murphy in PNE's defeat to Norwich at Deepdale
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Simon Grayson has urged his Preston players not to let the season drift to a disappointing conclusion after three defeats on the bounce.

Until the 3-0 reverse at Leeds on April 8, PNE were in with an outside chance of making the play-offs.

That effectively ended their top-six hopes and the two Easter defeats to Huddersfield and Norwich saw them drop out of the running.

At least they went down with a fight against Huddersfield, that in contrast to the tame display in the Norwich loss.

North End’s next game is at Newcastle on Monday night, one switched for the benefit of live coverage on Sky.

They then play relegated Rotherham at Deepdale the following Saturday, before rounding off the campaign with a trip to Wolves on May 7.

PNE manager Grayson said: “I told the players before playing Norwich that we’ve got to make sure we finish the season strongly.

“For whatever reason we didn’t show that.

“It’s really disappointing because I don’t want to finish the season with that sort of performance.

“There are three games to go now and we’ve got to do something about it.

“You can’t switch the game on like a tap and think we’ll do it when it suits us.

“The Championship is ruthless and you pay heavy consequences if you don’t 
perform to your maximum.

“We were too predictable against Norwich, people didn’t want to get on the ball, we didn’t play with the real zest that we have done for large parts this season.”

This is Preston’s joint worst league run of the season – they lost their first three games in August.

Grayson will have an element of patching up to do when it comes to the team for the last three games.

Greg Cunningham and Tom Clarke are out for the rest of the season having suffered serious injuries in the last two matches.

Clarke’s absence will stretch deep into next term, his ruptured Achilles tendon set to sideline him for between eight and 10 months.

Alex Baptiste serves the last of a three-match ban when they face Newcastle but Ben Pearson’s suspension has two more games to run.

PNE are currently in 10th position, one place higher than where they finished last season.

They are two points behind Norwich and Derby and one ahead of Brentford.