Grayson bids for a hat-trick

Preston North End's Manager Simon Grayson
Preston North End's Manager Simon Grayson
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Preston North End’s horrendous run in the play-offs is slightly offset by the record of their manager Simon Grayson in the end-of-season lottery.

He will be aiming for a play-off ‘hat-trick’ having previously steered Blackpool and Huddersfield Town to play-off success. Both were from League One as well.

In 2007, he was at Blackpool and led them to a play-off final win over Yeovil at Wembley.

More nerve-wracking was his success with Huddersfield two years ago when they beat Sheffield United on penalties after a goalless draw. In between, Grayson had managed his boyhood team Leeds United and taken them back into the Championship as League One runners-up in 2010.

Preston’s play-off record is a constant source of misery for the famous old club’s followers.

They have failed to win all eight they have been involved in - a record number of play-off appearances by any Football League club.

First defeat was in 1989 in the [now] League One semi-finals to Port Vale.

In 1994, they got to the League Two final but lost to Wycombe and the following season were involved again but lost to Bury in the semi-finals.

In 1999, they lost in the League One semi-finals to Gillingham but the following season were automatically promoted to the Championship and made it into the play-offs that first season.

They had the chance of going straight up to the Premier League by reaching the final but lost to Bolton.

There was another agonising play-off final defeat in 2005, this time to West Ham and the following season the ‘Lilywhites’ were in the end-of-season shoot-out yet again but lost in the semis to Leeds.

Their last appearance was a semi-final defeat to Sheffield United in 2009.