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Burnley travel to Deepdale tonight to face Preston North End in front of the television cameras. The two managers have both had their say ahead of the game.

Simon Grayson steered Preston to promotion last season from League One and his side, after a difficult start, have moved into the top half of the league. “This is a big game for both football clubs,” he said. “It’s a local derby first and foremost, it’s probably one of the first fixtures that our supporters and their supporters looked at when the fixtures came out in June.

“It’s the business end of the season, there’s so much to play for. It’s going to be so tight for those two automatic places so it’s a mouth watering fixture for everybody concerned. We are looking forward to it, we are coming off the back of a decent result the other night, a decent performance.

“It’s certainly a game that’s going to have a fantastic atmosphere and hopefully we can match the performance with the atmosphere. We want the bragging rights and to get the three points because it would be a fantastic achievement to do the double over Burnley but we certainly know what a tough game we are going to be involved in. They have been very consistent and that’s why they are up there in the automatic places.”

1415 burnley sean dyche 00 630x420Grayson, speaking of our unbeaten run, seems to think our last defeat was against his team. He added: “It’s not bad is it (our unbeaten run). Sometimes these runs have to come to an end as we found last year at Colchester, so it might be quite significant if we started the run and we ended the run as well.

“That’s what we’ve got to try and do. and put on a performance, match the heat of the battle. We’ve got to make sure that we pass it well, play with our heads and be cool and calculated on the ball, and take opportunities when they come along.

“They’ve got threats at the top end of the pitch, they’ve got experienced players right the way through the team, so we keep saying it’s a tough game but one we will certainly relish and look forward to.”

Sean Dyche and his team are ready and thriving on all the pressure as we get towards the end of the season. “We are relishing this kind of pressure,” he said. “This is what being successful is all about. Things don’t come easy in life. You have to earn the right and we have. This is exactly the position you plan on getting yourself in and winning has always been a mindset of mine.

“We have a clarity of demand within the group and respect of each other and that’s a healthy balance. We feel we’ve earned this situation we are in, so now it’s shoulders back because make no mistake we are ready for all that comes in front of us in the next three games.”

He added: “We are so experienced as a group, so whatever comes, we will be ready. The lads are getting stronger and the physical stats from the second half, in particular, against Middlesbrough were absolutely first class.

“We are in good shape both physically and mentally and we are willing to take this challenge on. All the statisticians will be out there crunching the numbers and permutations, but it all comes down to us. Now we have to continue that clear focus and deliver.”

Speaking about Preston, he said: “I think Larry (Simon Grayson) has done really well. I like him as a bloke and a manager and his staff. They are good people and good at what they do. They have earned the right to be 10th in the Championship and it seems to be they all give a lot for the cause.

“They got a foothold in this division early on and I would argue the challenge for them at the beginning of the season was to certainly be in the Championship and build on that. They have done really well on that front, but we don’t take anyone lightly. Why would we?

“We respect them and the only time that respect goes out of the window is when the whistle blows. Then it all comes down to us.”

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