Simon Grayson insists players, not statistics, will settle today’s League One encounter with Sheffield United.
But the 43-year-old, who would become the first Preston North End manager to win at Bramall Lane since 1978 if the visitors beat David Weir’s side, is refusing to be lulled into a false sense of security by their opponents’ position towards the foot of the table.
“Records are there to be broken,” Grayson said last night. “Why teams do better at some grounds and not others is something which you can’t put your finger on.
“We want to try and win over there. We came close to doing that on the final day of last season in a game when we were very comfortable.
“Our aim is to sustain the run we are on, make sure we won’t get beaten.”
United are 22nd in the table after losing at Carlisle last weekend. North End are fifth having won three consecutive games.
They are very good, very well organised,” Weir, the United manager, said. “They have had a couple of good results recently and are strong and physical with a good manager who knows the division and has been successful so will be a really good test for us.
“They will be full of confidence, coming here expecting to win. We are obviously not winning so it’s more difficult for us and I am sure they will be confident of getting a result here. It’s up to us to respond to that.
“They are in good form. We have watched them a couple of times and have seen that with our own eyes.”
Grayson, who orchestrated North End’s goalless draw in the corresponding fixture last season, said: “You look at Sheffield United as a team and they are under-performing at the moment.
“They have some good players there and have signed Marlon King this week. I see this one as a tough game for us.
“They have a huge fan base behind them. But we go there in good spirits.
“Hopefully we can put a little bit more misery on them.
“When you look through their squad, they have Championship players in nearly every position.
“Their back four is Tony McMahon, Neill Collins, Harry Maguire – who people are talking about as being the next big thing from there – and Matt Hill. That is not a bad defence with good experience.
“They have one or two younger players in midfield and have recently signed Jose Baxter who is a talented footballer.
“It’s our job to make sure we impose our game on them, give Sheffield United something to worry about.”
“We have some good options up front after putting the squad together in the way we did,” Grayson added. “While we talk about who is in at the moment, have a look at who isn’t.”