Bring on the Owls, says PNE star Ben

Preston North End's Ben Pearson

Preston North End's Ben Pearson

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In-form midfielder Ben Pearson insists Preston North End will relish the challenge of facing fancied Sheffield Wednesday.

Simon Grayson’s men head to Hillsborough on Saturday having been frustrated in their last two games as they were held by Wolves and Burton Albion at Deepdale.

PNE have impressed against the Championship’s big boys this season however with Carlos Carvalhal’s men seventh in the table, three points ahead of North End.

“We showed what we could do over the past couple of months against Brighton, Norwich, Aston Villa and others,” said Pearson.

“Then we played Wolves and Burton and on paper you’re thinking you should get at least a point and they’ve been tougher tests.

“It is a strange game and it will be another tough game on Saturday.

“We’ve been home in the last couple of games and it’ll be different going away with their crowd.

“But we’ve had better results against the higher teams in the division and we’ll be hoping to do it again.”

Pearson admits Preston got something of a taste of their own medicine against Burton on Saturday, Nigel Clough’s men in North End’s faces right from the first whistle of the 1-1 draw.

It was another example of how teams are now going to Deepdale knowing they will be in for a tough afternoon.

The Owls test is likely to be a different one however with many believing Carvalhal’s men, who have £5 million former Preston loanee Adam Reach in their ranks, will be in the promotion shake-up come the end of the season.

“We seem to perform better as underdogs,” said Pearson.

“I don’t know why that is but teams don’t press us as much and then we can press them a bit more as we have done against the likes of Villa and Newcastle.

“I think the teams with bigger budgets are still coming here thinking that they can turn us over.

“The teams nearer the bottom are realising that we’re some force now.

“It just shows in the league positions and the results we’ve had.”

Pearson took the man of the match honours against Burton as he continues to be one of the first names on Grayson’s team sheet.

It has been quite a turnaround for the former Barnsley man who was rarely seen in the opening weeks of the season before starring in the EFL Cup win at Bournemouth.

“It’s been a bit hit and miss for me,” said Pearson.

“In the first 10 games I wasn’t involved and it was tough to take. But it shows in football you’ve just got to get your head down, knuckle down and if you get your chance you’ve got to take it.”

PNE’s youngsters host Sheffield United in the FA Youth Cup third round at Deepdale tonight.

Kick-off is 7pm with the Sir Tom Finney Stand south open for the game.

Season ticket holders from both clubs can enter for free with other admission £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.