TOP SPOT IS THE NO.1 AIM

Grayson has eye on the Robins

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Harry Wilmin

PRE­STON boss Simon Grayson in­sists his side are pre­pared to hunt down league-lead­ers Bris­tol City af­ter shak­ing off pro­mo­tion-ri­vals MK Dons to move four points clear in sec­ond spot.

Cal­lum Robin­son and Joe Gar­ner sealed all three points in the space of four sec­ond-half min­utes with well­taken goals, which sees MK Dons slip down to fourth as their own pro­mo­tion chal­lenge is be­gin­ning to fall by the way­side.

And Grayson was beam­ing from ear to ear af­ter the Li­ly­whites se­cured their sixth win in seven games.

“It’s a huge re­sult for us, but ob­vi­ously peo­ple will be play­ing it up be­cause of where both teams are in the league and we knew the sig­nif­i­cance of it,” he said.

“We’ve come away with a real pro­fes­sional per­for­mance, I thought from start to fin­ish we ex­e­cuted the game plan re­ally well be­cause we knew that when we come here we have to press and get all of the tac­tics right.

“I think over the course of the game we were the wor­thy win­ners, that’s for sure.

“We’re so closely matched and the play­ers know a lot about each other, the play­ers had to be dis­ci­plined in their per­for­mance, but we al­ways knew that we would cre­ate chances be­cause of the qual­ity play­ers we have in the side.

“We don’t know what’s around the cor­ner in foot­ball, and it’s hu­man na­ture to look ahead – but if Bris­tol City slip up we’ll be want­ing to catch them, but we’re just tak­ing care of what we can af­fect.” Dons de­fender Kyle McFadzean had the first ef­fort on goal in­side 17 min­utes as both sides strug­gled to take a hold of the game dur­ing the open­ing ex­changes.

McFadzean struck a pow­er­ful long-range ef­fort from 25-yards, which looked set for the top cor­ner, but Pre­ston goal­keeper Sam Johnstone was able push the ball just wide.

The vis­i­tors then went close af­ter 24 min­utes when Daniel John­son’s curl­ing strike from the edge of the area forced Ian McLough­lin into a save.

Robin­son should have done bet­ter for the Li­ly­whites in­side 52 min­utes af­ter he in­ter­cepted a loose ball from An­thony Kay, roamed un­chal­lenged into the Dons’ box and drilled his ef­fort well over the bar.

Gar­ner wasted an­other good op­por­tu­nity for Pre­ston min­utes later when he fired over from eight yards af­ter a neat cut-back from John­son on the wing.

The hosts went close through Samir Carruthers in­side the 63rd minute, but Johnstone got down well to block.

But Robin­son net­ted his sixth of the sea­son for the vis­i­tors af­ter 66 min­utes with a well-taken left-footed strike across McLough­lin be­fore Gar­ner dou­bled the lead four min­utes later with a close-range header.

But MK Dons boss Karl Robin­son says au­to­matic pro­mo­tion is still there for the tak­ing de­spite three straight de­feats in the space of seven days.

“If peo­ple want to be­lieve that we’ve lost au­to­matic pro­mo­tion then they can be­lieve that, but it’s not over, not if I’ve got any­thing to do with it that’s for sure,” he said.“I thought the first half was very even and there wasn’t any­thing in the game.

“But sec­ond half it was men against boys, we looked weak in ev­ery area.

“It was a poor per­for­mance and it’s just been a poor week for us.

“It was first against sec­ond here but we were worlds apart – they were able to bring Kevin Davies and Jer­maine Beck­ford on and we’re miss­ing the likes of Dele Alli and Dean Lew­ing­ton.

“It is what it is but the play­ers who have been wait­ing all sea­son for an op­por­tu­nity haven’t per­formed here, they’ve hid­den from the game more than any­thing.

“For us to be dom­i­nated like that in the sec­ond half is the worst I’ve seen at our sta­dium for a long, long time and that is dis­ap­point­ing.

“I thought the fans were ex­cel­lent, but we’ve been beaten fair and square – we need to get back to where we were.”

CROWDED OUT: MK Dons duo Devante Cole and Will Grigg close in on Pre­ston’s Bai­ley Wright

STAR MAN CAL­LUM ROBINS

ON Pre­ston

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