View from the opposition: It’s all gone pretty much as planned for Preston
Preston fan John Roper takes a look at today’s Deepdale clash against the Canaries.
Another busy holiday weekend – is it all over for Preston’s play-off hopes now?
Not quite all over for North End, but we would have to win all our remaining games and then hope that the others slip up. Last season we finished 11th with 62 points and barring a disaster we look like improving on that position this time around.
You gave it a good bash – what’s Simon Grayson’s secret?
In many ways Simon Grayson is like David Moyes in that he gets the very best from every player and the sum of the squad, or the team, is greater than that of the collective individuals. His teams are generally hard to beat and he has an excellent relationship with the owner, Trevor Hemmings, and with the owner`s appointed football consultant, Peter Ridsdale.
Where did you expect Preston to be at this stage of the season?
Pretty much where we are really. We had a good season last time after being promoted and the squad has been strengthened in every transfer window. A top-10 place was always the owners objective this season – sometimes easier said than done.
Did you expect Norwich to be where they are?
To be honest I expected Norwich to be a nailed-on top six side this season and as such I guess the City fans will think they have under-achieved. The writing was on the wall well before we won at Carrow Road in the autumn which I think was a relief to the sides in the play-off spots as they would have expected Norwich to be right in contention.
So, to this afternoon – what can City fans expect from your team?
Our home form has been very good since Christmas with only one defeat in the last 13. Brighton and Reading have been beaten 2-0 and 3-0 respectively in the last couple of months and last time out we beat Bristol City 5-0. Expect us to be organised with pace in the attacking third of the pitch. There are no fears at home for North End. However, depending on the previous results it might be a dull end-of-season affair, so I hope both teams will be giving it 100pc and trying to finish as high as possible.
Who do we watch out for?
Aiden McGeady, Callum Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen. Paul Gallagher will be conducting the orchestra in midfield and Ben Pearson will be doing the spoiling. McGeady was Championship player of the month for February and Barkhuizen won the same award for March.
And, while we are talent spotting, who would you be most wary of in the City team?
Wes Hoolahan, Jonny Howson and Steven Naismith.
Wouldn’t be right not to ask you for a prediction…
Preston 2-1 Norwich… however, I am the world’s worst tipster.