PNE’s never-say-die spirit

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Simon Grayson has seen his Preston side cash in with a number of late goals this season.

The Lilywhites have netted 17 of their 53 Championship goals in the final quarter-of-an-hour of games.

Simon Makienok celebrates after scoring at Brighton, one of a number of late goals PNE have netted

Simon Makienok celebrates after scoring at Brighton, one of a number of late goals PNE have netted

Aiden McGeady scored in the 93rd minute at Blackburn on Saturday to earn North End a draw.

In the previous away game, Tom Barkhuizen left it even later – the 95th minute – to get a draw against Derby.

Going further back, Simon Makienok was on target in the 92nd minute at Brighton in October.

Of the late goals, only two have fallen into the category of being consolation strikes, against Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle.

PNE boss Grayson said: “It is testament to the players that they’ve got an attitude where they are not going to give up on getting something game.

“It is testament the fitness level of the players that they can go right until the end.

“At half-time on Saturday I told the lads it could benefit us that Blackburn had played quite a few games recently and there could be something for us late on.

“That proved to be the case and it was great to see us score the goal in stoppage time.

“It’s about the desire and spirit you’ve got to keep going to the end.”

A couple of seasons ago it was something of a reverse, with North End going through a stage of conceding late goals.

Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher said: “We’ve been on the wrong end of a few of them too, conceding in the last 10 minutes.

“The games are demanding physically and mentally, and if you drop your concentration for one moment, it can prove very costly.

“We have learned to keep going to the end of games this season, there is a never-say-die attitude among the lads.

“The late goals we have got could yet prove important at the end of the campaign.”

Grayson’s men also scored late on in the first three rounds of the League Cup earlier in the campaign.

After netting late on in the games against Hartlepool and Oldham, they did so twice at Bournemouth.

Makienok scored an 85th-minute equaliser against the Cherries and then struck the winner in the second half of extra time.

The PNE squad were back in training yesterday after having a couple of days’ break following the Blackburn game.

Grayson intends using the international break to give his players a combination of rest and time on the training pitch.

They resume action a week on Saturday with a home game against Nottingham Forest, before hosting Bristol City three days later – a game which will see Bailey Wright’s return to Deepdale.