Robbo and DJ: From Villans to PNE heroes

Callum Robinson put in a good display against former club Aston Villa
Callum Robinson put in a good display against former club Aston Villa
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Simon Grayson has praised Preston pair Callum Robinson and Daniel Johnson for the way they played against their former club Aston Villa.

Both produced impressive displays in the 2-0 victory at Deepdale.

Their performances did not go unnoticed by the travelling Villa supporters, those who were left at the final whistle giving them a warm round of applause.

North End signed midfielder Johnson for a bargain £50,000 from Villa in January 2015.

Robinson had three loan spells at Preston before joining permanently this summer.

Lilywhites manager Grayson said: “The two lads obviously wanted to do well when facing their old club.

“I told them to play with their head as well as their heart because sometimes people can play the occasion a bit too much.

“I wanted them to do the things they normally do, the things they are good at.

“Full credit to them both, they effected the game in such a positive way.

“DJ and Callum are enjoying their football here, they are good to work with.”

Robinson was at Villa from the age of eight, with Johnson joining them after a spell with Crystal Palace’s academy.

With first-team chances limited, they chose Preston to get regular football.

Said Grayson: “Sometimes you have to move to get your opportunity in football.

“They didn’t get the chance at Villa, not because of their ability but because the club is a big one and they have a lot of money to spend. I was in a similar position myself as a young kid at Leeds, I went off to make a career for myself elsewhere.

“At Leeds, I hadn’t played much but I got my chance at Leicester.”

Robinson has probably been Preston’s most consistent performer so far this term.

After beginning the campaign on the bench, he has started nine Championship games in a row.

Grayson has used him both on the left wing – where he played against Villa – and up front as a striker.

Johnson has been in and out of the side but scored his first goal of the season at Birmingham last week.

The North End squad were back in training yesterday after getting Sunday and Monday off after the Villa win.

Grayson intends using the international break to give them a mix of work and rest, ahead of the return to action at Brighton a week on Saturday.

Meanwhile, tickets have gone on sale for PNE’s visit to Newcastle in the League Cup on Tuesday, October 25.

They have initially been allocated 1,112 tickets at St James’ Park, costing £10 for adults and £3 for concessions.

Those prices rise to £20 for adults and £10 concessions if purchased on the day of the game or at the turnstiles.

North End play Rafa Benitez’s Magpies twice in four days, with the cup clash followed by a Championship meeting at Deepdale on Saturday, October 29.