GRAYSON: WE’LL AIM TO MISS ‘STUPID’ PLAY-OFFS
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.”
TARGET: Simon Grayson wants automatic promotion