Preston manager plays mind games

PHOTO: NEIL CROSS'PNE v Leyton Orient at Deepdale'New manager Graham Westley
PHOTO: NEIL CROSS'PNE v Leyton Orient at Deepdale'New manager Graham Westley
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GRAHAM Westley believes his presence at the helm of Preston North End will sow seeds of doubt in Sheffield United minds when the two teams meet at Bramall Lane tomorrow.

Westley, who in a previous guise as Stevenage manager inflicted a rare defeat on Danny Wilson’s side earlier this term, took charge of the Lancastrians last month following Phil Brown’s dismissal.

United triumphed 4-2 at Deepdale in October and Westley, who watched that game from the stands, said: “They’ll be looking at this match thinking ‘It’s a different Preston – Graham Westley has beaten us this season in his role at Stevenage’ and be very aware of that.

“They’ll know that I’ve produced a side which has achieved a win over them and they’ll think about that.

“They’ll have the problem of working-out what does Graham Westley add to Preston and how is that going to come together?

“It’s a difficult psychology from their point of view. Of trying to understand exactly who they are playing against tomorrow.

“They’ll know that they have been beaten by the manager and they know that Preston have players who can score goals against them. It’s an interesting dilemma for them to get to grips with.”

Two goals from on-loan forward Matt Phillips helped United, who climbed to second in the League One table when they overcame Huddersfield Town 1-0 on Tuesday night, beat their latest opponents four months ago.

Four matches later they suffered a shock 2-1 reverse at Broadhall Way as Stevenage, still under Westley’s tutelage, produced the type of bullish display which has since catapulted them to sixth.

With Phillips later recalled by Blackpool, Westley, who has guided North End to within nine points of his former club, said: “I had an evening off and watched Sheffield United play Preston. They played very well and we’ll be aware, albeit they had lads on loan who aren’t there now, of the attacking threat they offer but they’ll also be aware they conceded goals against Preston.”