SIMON GRAYSON has dismissed talk of a play-off hoodoo for Preston North End by pointing out that he led Huddersfield Town to promotion after two previous attempts in the end-of-season deciders had ended in failure, writes Richard Sutcliffe.
The Lancashire club have qualified for the play-offs eight times in the past but are still waiting to celebrate a first promotion via the route.
Five of those quests ended at the semi-final stage, the most recent coming in 2009 when Sheffield United beat North End over two legs to reach the Championship final.
Grayson, though, is unfazed by the record and insists it will count for nothing when his side take on Rotherham United.
The 44-year-old, twice promoted from League One via the play-offs, said: “I think the play-offs are a fantastic way to end a season. Or they are if you win, at least.
“Form goes out the window so it doesn’t matter how you did against each other or even in the last few weeks of a season,” he said. “How a club has done in the play-offs means nothing, either, even if that doesn’t stop people focusing on it.
“At Preston, I keep getting told how many times we have been in the play-offs and yet are still waiting for that first promotion. But the past is the past. I said that when at Huddersfield, who had lost in the play-offs in the two previous seasons to when I became manager (in February, 2012). People would tell me it put us at a disadvantage but I couldn’t disagree more.
“Who cares what happened 12 months ago or even 20 years ago? At Huddersfield, we got to Wembley and then won promotion in the final so that proves that what goes before has little influence.
“It is the next couple of weeks that will decide who goes up to next season’s Championship, not how any of us was doing a year ago.”
Saturday interview with Simon Grayson: Back page.