Grayson’s double joy

PNE: Simon Grayson.
PNE: Simon Grayson.
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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson toasted a double celebration as his side beat Morecambe 2-1 at the Globe Arena last night.

A weight was lifted off the club earlier in the day as it was announced that the six players arrested over spot-fixing allegations had been cleared by the police.

The PNE gaffer took time to lambast the national press in his post-match interview for their “double standards” regarding the case.

The nationals highlighted the matter when club captain John Welsh, Bailey Wright, David Buchanan, Ben Davies, Keith Keane and ex-striker Graham Cummins were arrested on April 4 over allegations they had got themselves deliberately booked in matches.

The six players were due to answer bail at police stations in Rotherham and Cheadle Heath next Wednesday, but the club was notified that all players had been cleared of the spot-fixing allegations.

Grayson believes it is a travesty that the players innocence will probably not get the same national publicity as their arrests did.

He said: “I’d like to think it has lifted a weight off the team. When it came out in the first place everyone was really surprised.

“From day one the players assured me they had done nothing wrong and we have backed them with everything that they have told us.

“And I think it is a relief, even though they knew they weren’t guilty, but they still had it hanging over them so for them to be declared innocent yesterday is brilliant for everyone.

“When they got arrested it obviously made the national press and national media and I’m sure they won’t get the same sort of publicity now they have been cleared – which I think is absolutely shocking.”

Cleared Keane stepped up to score a spectacular winning goal in PNE’s 2-1 win.

The midfielder sealed the result with a sweet lofted chip over former PNE stopper Andeas Arestidou.

Joe Garner headed North End in front after latching on to a sensational Will Hayhurst cross. Ryan Williams equalised for the hosts when his 30-yard free-kick flew past sub keeper Thorsten Stuckmann.

The victory was the League One club’s third friendly win in four days after two away victories over non-league sides Bamber Bridge and Halifax.

But despite a mediocre performance last night Grayson was pleased with the victory.

The PNE boss praised his players who were physically and mentally drained after a tough few days in the unusually humid weather in Lancashire.

He said: “We knew it was going to be a step up from the games we’ve had so far, with Morecambe being a league team. There are some good points some things we know we need to work on as well, but that is what pre-season is all about. We’ve used different personnel in different positions again, so it was a good work out for us.”

Next up PNE take on two Premier League sides. They face Burnley at Deepdale on Tuesday night and Leicester at home on Saturday.