The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW -

PRE­STON boss Si­mon Grayson has chal­lenged his play­ers to put on a “proper” per­for­mance at St James’ Park to­mor­row. A 3-1 sub­mis­sion to Nor­wich at Deep­dale on Mon­day ended any lin­ger­ing hopes of snatch­ing a play-off berth. Grayson sub­se­quently lam­basted his play­ers’ dis­play, de­scrib­ing his half-time team-talk as “the an­gri­est I’ve been in a long, long time”. And, with Pre­ston aim­ing to notch their high­est fin­ish in eight years, the 47-year-old is de­mand­ing an im­proved show­ing against pro­mo­tion-chas­ing New­cas­tle. “I said be­fore the Nor­wich game ‘Don’t let the sea­son peter out’,” said Grayson, whose side have now lost three straight matches for the first time since Au­gust. “But, for what­ever rea­son, we didn’t do the things we nor­mally do. “When we’re at it off the ball, when we stop the op­po­si­tion cre­at­ing chances and have a real de­sire, en­ergy and workrate, we’re as good as any­body in this divi­sion. When we’re not, good teams like Nor­wich and New­cas­tle are go­ing to hurt you. “So, let’s not un­der­mine all our good work with a bad fin­ish. We’ve got to stay fo­cused, stay de­ter­mined, make sure we go to New­cas­tle and put on a proper per­for­mance that rep­re­sents what we’re all about. They’ve got a great squad, but we have to make it un­com­fort­able for them.” Pre­ston will be with­out full-back Greg Cun­ning­ham, who frac­tured his tibia against Nor­wich and has been ruled out for six to eight weeks. Tom Clarke is also out af­ter scans con­firmed a rup­tured achilles, leav­ing the Li­ly­whites short of de­fend­ers.

MES­SAGE: Si­mon Grayson

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