sport

Grayson: Strange quirks happen

Simon Grayson has dismissed Preston's play-off hoodoo as a "strange quirk" after their dismal record in the post season continued.

North End's season ended at Rotherham on Thursday night as Steve Evans' men progressed to the League One play-off final at Wembley courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate victory.

It meant that the Lilywhites were eliminated from the play-offs for the ninth time having never achieved promotion via that route.

Grayson himself is seen as something of a specialist in getting clubs promoted from the third tier of English football, something he has done on three occasions with Blackpool, Leeds and Huddersfield.

And he dismissed the suggestion that Preston's poor play-off record had a psychological effect on his team against the Millers.

North End's defeat came 24 hours after Benfica had lost the Europa League final to Sevilla on penalties with the Portuguese team having lost eight straight European finals since they were 'cursed' by former coach Bela Guttman.

"I think the players have gone out and given their all; these strange quirks just happen in football," Grayson admitted.

"You see Benfica lose and how many times have they lost in European finals?

"We lick our wounds, we'll be in on Friday then the players will go out and get their rest. We'll come back a determined football club because this football club is progressing. In terms of where they were a few years ago compared to where they are now - it's only going to go in one direction."

Even so, Grayson hopes any promotion quest next season does not have to go through Wembley.

"All the players can be really proud of what they've done this season from day one, everything I've got them to do," he added.

"I've got a really disappointed group which is understandable but 90 per cent of that dressing room are under contract. We'll add to the squad and we'll use this as a motivation for hopefully automatic promotion next year rather than using this stupid system of the play-offs - for Preston anyway!"