Revenge is in the mind for PNE

Paul Huntington
Paul Huntington
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Preston North End tackle their first local derby of the season tomorrow night, the clash with Bolton providing the chance of some long awaited revenge.

The Deepdale meeting is the first time PNE and Wanderers have locked horns since the 2001 play-off final.

It was Bolton who won 3-0 at the Millennium Stadium that day, setting them up for an 11-year stay in the Premier League.

While the focus of both sides tomorrow is on trying to pick up points to escape the lower reaches of the Championship, Simon Grayson won’t ignore history either.

Lilywhites manager Grayson said: “When the fixtures came out in June, the ones which a lot of supporters would have looked at first were the local games against Blackburn, Burnley and Bolton.

“We will experience all of them over the next few weeks and there should be some really good atmospheres.

“It is all about winning as many points as possible, while we also understand the importance of beating your local rivals so that fans have the bragging rights.

“If you start with Bolton, our supporters still have a little bit of hurt from the last time we played them in the play-off final in 2001.

“We will be very respectful of Bolton, they have got some good Championship players.

“As a team and staff, we are fully aware of what we need to do tomorrow.

“On a personal note, I want to try and put one over on my former team-mate Neil Lennon.

“We had two or three good years together as players as Leicester and have stayed in touch since, so too his assistant Garry Parker.

“Tomorrow we will both be desperate to beat each other.”

Grayson has selection issues of the right kind for the televised clash (6pm).

He must decide whether to recall Joe Garner and Paul Huntington to the starting XI.

Garner returned to the bench at Brighton last week after serving a three-game ban, joining the action as a 66th minute substitute.

Centre-half Huntington was a late sub, North End having been easing him back into action after a hamstring injury.

“We have some difficult decisions to make,” said Grayson.

“It was a difficult decision last week to start with Joe on the bench, considering he was last season’s leading scorer and is a key player for us.

“We just felt Jordan Hugill and Eoin Doyle deserved another chance and again they played very well.

“With Hunts, we have been building him up gradually after his injury.

“On Tuesday we had a 60-minute practice game for the lads who haven’t been playing recently.

“Hunts came through that and if he is called upon against Bolton, he is available.”

Tom Clarke will again be sidelined by a shoulder injury, with Paul Gallagher expected to continue with the captaincy.