GRAYSON: WE’LL AIM TO MISS ‘STUPID’ PLAY-OFFS

The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

BEATEN Pre­ston boss Si­mon Grayson says Brent­ford should be the in­spi­ra­tion for his play­ers next sea­son.

Heart­break­ingly de­nied au­to­matic pro­mo­tion on the fi­nal day of last sea­son and then beaten in the play-off fi­nal by Yeovil, the Bees roared back to win pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship this term.

And af­ter the Li­ly­whites 4-2 ag­gre­gate loss to Rother­ham in the semis – the club’s ninth play-off de­feat – Grayson is de­ter­mined to avoid the “stupid” end of sea­son lot­tery next time.

“These strange quirks just hap­pen in foot­ball,” said Grayson, who has taken Black­pool, Leeds and Hud­der­s­field up from League One.“You saw Ben­fica on Wed­nes­day night – how many times have they lost in Euro­pean fi­nals?

“The im­por­tant thing is that this club is pro­gress­ing. From where we are now to where we were a cou­ple of years ago – Pre­ston is go­ing in one di­rec­tion and it’ll keep go­ing in that di­rec­tion.

“Now we’ve got to use this as a mo­ti­va­tion to try and get au­to­matic pro­mo­tion next year in­stead of us­ing this stupid play-off sys­tem.

“No mat­ter what I say to them tonight, it’ll go in one ear and out the other. They’re dev­as­tated be­cause they’ve given their all. But next sea­son, we’ll use tonight, and Brent­ford’s sit­u­a­tion when they missed out in the play­offs and came storm­ing back. I ex­pe­ri­enced it as a man­ager with Leeds, when we lost in the fi­nal to Don­caster and bounced back the fol­low­ing year. You have to use it.”

Grayson has ruled out ma­jor surgery to a team that lost just seven games out of 46 and amassed a points tally that would have guar­an­teed sec­ond place last year.

“That can hap­pen in any sea­son,” he added. “X num­ber of points takes you up, puts you down, keeps you in the di­vi­sion. All it shows is how good the teams in this di­vi­sion have been and have had to be just to get in the play-offs.

“When you only lose seven games all sea­son and don’t go up, you can think yourself a lit­tle bit un­lucky and the play­ers can be re­ally proud of what they’ve done this sea­son.

“From day one, they’ve done ev­ery­thing I’ve asked them to do. Ninety per cent of that dress­ing room is con­tracted to next year and we’ve got a nu­cleus of good young play­ers like Josh Brown­hill, Alan Browne.

“They’ve got good ex­pe­ri­ence and with some good ad­di­tions we should be able to have a crack at au­to­matic next year.”

CHRIS DUNLAVY

TAR­GET: Si­mon Grayson wants au­to­matic pro­mo­tion

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