SEan Gregan's exclusive column

I do not think many Preston North End supporters will turn their nose up at the 1-1 draw which Simon Grayson's side got against Ipwich at Portman Road on Saturday

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 17th January 2016, 4:09 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th January 2016, 5:19 pm
Preston North End's Daniel Johnson (3rd left) is mobbed by his team mates after scoring the opening goal of the game
Preston North End's Daniel Johnson (3rd left) is mobbed by his team mates after scoring the opening goal of the game

Ipswich are traditionally a strong side at home and in my career, I cannot remember too many times when a side I was playing for got a decent result down there.

Okay, PNE let the lead slip after Daniel Johnson had scored early.

You would have expected Ipswich to hit back strongly though, and credit to North End, they played very well.

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The draw came on the back on victory at Bristol City last Tuesday night.

Although City might have their problems at the moment, that was still a great result.

Preston’s 2-1 victory at Ashton Gate was to prove the last game in charge of City for Steve Cotterill.

Say what you want about Cotterill, but he did a great job there and it strikes me as being a harsh decision.

I presume with City being third bottom of the table and with them developing their stadium, they simply could not contemplate dropping back into League One so soon.

Hence them deciding for a change of manager, Cotterill leaving within a few months of winning the League One title and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Back to North End and we are seeing the goals spread around at the moment.

Johnson was again the man in the right position against Ipswich, that his eighth goal of the season.

He got eight in the second part of last season after his move from Aston Villa, so 16 goals in a year is good going for a midfielder.

I’ve liked what I have seen from Johnson, he is one of those midfielders who likes to go box to box.

Having afew goals in his locker will always stand him in good stead.

Greg Cunningham scored the other night from the left wing-back role, while Eoin Doyle and Paul Gallagher have also scored in recent games.

We would all love a few more goals to come the way of Joe Garner and I’m sure that will happen.

But the main thing is that points continue to be picked up, whoever puts the ball in the net.

In terms of league position, North End are in13th place at the moment.

They are closer to the play-offs than the relegation zone in terms of points and are not too far off guaranteeing safety.

It is often said that 50 points is the safety mark, maybe a point or two more.

But a lower figure might be on the cards this season with the way Bolton and Charlton are going at the moment.

What Simon Grayson will be saying to the players at the moment is keep focused, keep working hard and carry on accumulating the points.

Do that and they can think about the top half of the table rather than what is happening below them.

The sooner they can hit 50 points, the better. They can tick that off the list and really push on.

Grayson deserves a lot of credit for the job he is doing as Preston manager.

He is coming up to three years in charge and the club has really pushed on during that period.

That first few months at the helm, he steadied the ship before getting to the play-offs in his first full season.

There was promotion last season and now he has got North End pushing up that table.

He might get the occasional bit of stick for not being too expansive but in this league, you can get yourselves ripped apart if you are too open.