GRAYSON CAN GIVE PRE­STON EDGE IN BATTLE

The Football League Paper - - NEIL MELLOR -

A LOT of work has gone into Bris­tol City’s pro­mo­tion from League One, but per­haps the most im­por­tant piece was done in pre-sea­son.

That pre-sea­son trip to Botswana I spoke about in my last col­umn re­ally gave them a sense of per­spec­tive and I’m sure it kept the nerves at bay in the run-in.

With Luke Free­man a driv­ing force and ex­pe­ri­enced heads like Aaron Wil­bra­ham chip­ping in with goals, no­body could lay a glove on them and to seal pro­mo­tion with a 6-0 win at Brad­ford just un­der­lined their dom­i­nance.

Bris­tol City are a big club with tremen­dous sup­port and I think the Cham­pi­onship will be a stronger di­vi­sion for hav­ing them there.

The ques­tion now is, who will claim the sec­ond and fi­nal au­to­matic slot? Swin­don are a great young side, full of en­ergy and tal­ent. The day I watched them, I don’t think they had a player on the park over the age of 24. Their time will come – but not this year.

That just leaves MK Dons and my old club Pre­ston. The Dons have been bang­ing on the door for many years now. They are ready to go up.

But when it comes to the crunch, I just think Pre­ston boss Simon Grayson has the knack at this level.

He’s been there and done it three times be­fore, with Black­pool, Hud­der­s­field and Leeds. When it comes to League One, he’s the go-to guy.

His side had that wob­ble in Jan­uary but have come back fir­ing, es­pe­cially with the re­turn of top-scorer Joe Gar­ner.

And when you con­sider that the Dons lost a lot of fire­power when Benik Afobe went to Wolves, I think Pre­ston will just have that lit­tle bit ex­tra to edge over the line.

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