PNE boss has taken a different approach

Preston North End's Manager Simon Grayson
Preston North End's Manager Simon Grayson
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Simon Grayson wants to see his Preston side back to their meanest for the last two games of the season.

After producing a decent number of clean sheets – 15 in the Championship – PNE have conceded in all of their last nine games.

Lilywhites manager Grayson thinks being caught out at the back more often might be partly due to a change in tactics and thinking.

He has tried out a couple of different formations in recent weeks, safe in the knowledge that North End had secured their Championship status.

Grayson said: “People used to complain that we were boring when we kept clean sheets and won 1-0.

“In the last few weeks we have probably played a little bit more open than we had done in the first part of the season.

“I have looked at different formations and approaches which maybe left us more open as a side.

“We knew we were safe in the division so it has been a good time to have a look at a few different things.

“Earlier in the season, we did what we did, kept a lot of clean sheets and got points on the board.

“Maybe now we can go back to the 1-0 wins; it would be good if we could end the season with two good results.”

North End face Reading at the Madejski Stadium today, before the season ends with next week’s home clash against Leeds United.

Grayson ideally wants to finish in the division’s top 10, failing that, the top half.

He thinks the way in which Preston have adapted to the division and met the various challenges thrown in their path along the way, is deserving of a good league placing.

“In a week’s time when the season finishes, we will be able to be very proud of what we have done,” said Grayson.

“We have secured our status as a Championship side for a second year, while some of our victories and performances are ones to be proud of.

“You might say we have had the momentum which you get from being a promoted side but that doesn’t always work.

“Look at MK Dons who have gone down and Bristol City who are a couple of places above the relegation zone.

“It is not just momentum which has carried us through this season, it is a lot of hard work, so too the spirt and quality of the players.

“You cannot underestimate how well we have played at times.”

Tomorrow, Grayson will be swapping the touchline for the pitch when he plays in a charity game at the community day being held at Deepdale.

The event starts at 1pm with the PNE players taking part in a signing session.

Kick-off for the charity game which features a number of former North End stars, is at 2pm, with the player of the year presentations being held at half-time (2.45pm).

“This club has come along way over the last few years, with fans, players, staff and management being united,” said Grayson.