PNE boss aiming to maintain impressive play-off record

Paul Gallagher
Paul Gallagher
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Simon Grayson will look to maintain an impressive play-off record when he leads Preston North End into battle against Rotherham later today.

The North End boss has won promotion four times through the end-of-season knockout - twice as a player at Leicester and twice as manager with Blackpool and Huddersfield.

He also guided Leeds to automatic promotion and hopes to add success at Deepdale to an impressive CV.

Grayson puts his promotion record down to hard work rather than any special formula and has brought the same work ethic to PNE.

The challenge in front of him and his Lilywhites side over the coming days is to get the better of a Rotherham side who finished a place and a point ahead of them in the League One table.

Today’s home leg (5.15pm) is followed by a visit to the New York Stadium on Thursday night.

Grayson said: “I was fortunate as a player to have experienced a couple of 
play-off wins as well as when I’ve been a manager.

“It would be brilliant to have another.

“But I don’t have a magic wand which means that people who employ me are guaranteed promotion.

“The promotions have happened because I have worked hard, had a good staff under me and had some good players.

“I enjoy what I’m doing and hopefully that transmits down to the players.

“Hopefully the players will grasp the opportunity over the next couple of games.

“We always talk about someone being a hero and there will be a hero in one of the four dressing rooms in the coming weeks.”

The home form in recent weeks has heartened Grayson ahead of today’s first leg, with the performances of Paul Gallagher catching his eye at a personal level.

PNE won five on the bounce at Deepdale in the final month of the season.

“We have been positive and scored a lot of goals,” said Grayson.

“In fact, all season we have played some good football at home and created chances but not necessarily taken them.

“One or two players have come to the table recently. Gallagher started to play some of his best football since he came here. Others have done well too and we’ll be positive in what we do.

“I’m looking forward to a vibrant atmosphere inside Deepdale.”

Grayson is keeping team selection close to his chest but would not be afraid to give youngsters Alan Browne and Josh Brownhill their chance at some stage.

He said: “There is room for both experience and youth.

“Younger players can play with an exuberance and not really have a care in the world – they can get through games without worrying too much.

“Some of the older players might think a bit too deeply at times.

“If you can get the balance right between players who can manage games, understand the situation and take the sting out of them with that youthful exuberance, then hopefully it is a successful ingredient.”