GRAYSON WANTS INCREASED BELIEF
PRESTON boss Simon Grayson called on his players to have more confidence at the business end of the pitch after his side’s goalless draw with Cardiff.
Lilywhites captain Tom Clarke’s header just before the hour which shaved the bar was the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock at Deepdale as Preston still search for their first league win since August.
And following his side’s second draw in three Championship outings, Grayson hopes that the result can act as a building block for his side to climb up the table.
“We’re just lacking a little bit of belief and confidence in that final third where you want somebody to really grasp an opportunity, go past somebody, drop a shoulder, hit the target, and make the right decisions.” he said.
“That will come with maybe a couple more positive results for us because it’s not easy this division.
“It could have gone either way but ultimately we’re pleased we’ve kept a clean sheet and got a point which hopefully we can keep building on because there’s no easy games in this division. We’ve got a good spirit about us that we’re determined not to get beat if that’s possible.”
The Bluebirds sparked into life when Joe Ralls caught the Preston defence napping and slipped in Cardiff’s top scorer Joe Mason, but Jordan Pickford smothered the loose effort in the 25th minute.
At the other end, Adam Reach delivered a dangerous 31st-minute cross for Stevie May who failed to get proper contact as his effort trickled wide.
Clarke made a crucial 38th minute challenge to deny the lively Mason who was ready to pull the trigger after Ralls fired in a low cross.
Paul Gallagher nearly gave Preston the lead moments later after his longrange strike took a deflection which lifted it just over the bar.
A well worked 53rd-minute move from the Bluebirds involving Craig Noone, Anthony Pilkington and Sammy Ameobi ended with the latter shooting over from close range.
As Cardiff continued the second half brightly, Kagisho Dikgacoi slipped in Mason and Pickford got down well to parry the 54th-minute effort.
Meanwhile, referee Stuart Attwell ignored a penalty claim when Noone went down under Bailey Wright’s challenge.
Preston skipper Clarke rose magnificently from Gallagher’s 58th-minute corner and his header shaved the top of David Marshall’s crossbar.
Noone floated down the right for the Bluebirds and lofted a 78th-minute ball into the box which fell to Ameobi twice, who was denied on both occasions by some effective if desperate Preston defending.
Pickford saved a point ten minutes from the end when Peter Whittingham’s free-kick just outside the area went through the wall and the Preston stopper parried it to safety.
Cardiff boss Russell Slade felt the Bluebirds should have been awarded a spot-kick before the hour.
“I’ve looked at it again. It looks a strong, strong claim for a penalty,” he admitted.
“Even the centre-half who he’d spoke to admitted it was a penalty but we just don’t seem to be getting them at the minute.
“It wasn’t a great game or spectacle by either side in the first period and not a lot of opportunities, but that was in contrast to the second half.
“Even though mistakes were made, there were opportunities to be taken and we were looking to do that. We took the game to them and we had some wonderful opportunities.”
STAR MAN TOM CLARKE