Glynn’s in it to win it for PNE

Winger Chris Humphrey has been linked in the media with Celtic

Winger Chris Humphrey has been linked in the media with Celtic

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Preston North End will be looking to take another step along the road to Wembley tonight when they host Walsall at Deepdale in the northern final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Their task is to try and take an advantage into the away leg which is scheduled to be played early next month.

Wembley awaits the winners on March 22, the Lilywhites last playing there in 1994 in the Third Division play-off final.

Opponents Walsall have not been there in their history so there is plenty at stake over the two legs.

Although PNE hold the upper hand over the Saddlers in terms of league position, Dean Smith’s side beat them 3-1 earlier in the season.

So nothing is being taken for granted inside the North End camp ahead of the two legs.

Preston assistant boss Glynn Snodin said: “Every player wants to play at Wembley and you don’t get too many chances in a career to do that.

“This is a fantastic chance for both sides and I’m sure these will be two competitive matches.

“Tonight’s game is the first of two legs, so nothing will be decided straight away.

“Obviously our aim will be to take a lead to their place and we go into the game full of confidence after recent results.

“We will have the players prepared well and we’ve done our homework.

“You’ve got to treat it as a normal game, another 90 minutes.

“If it means a 1-0 win, you take 1-0 and then get ready for the next leg.”

The North End side is likely to show changes to the one which saw off Norwich in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Chris Humphrey, Jermaine Beckford and Kevin Davies could all start after being on the bench on Saturday.

Humphrey was linked with Celtic by a national newspaper yesterday.

The winger’s contract is up this summer and talks over a new deal are believed to have started recently between PNE and his agent.

Snodin believes that hustling Walsall out of their stride will be key to Preston coming out on top over the two legs.

He said: “We have to make sure we stop Walsall playing, have respect for them.

“They are a good passing side who beat us earlier in the season.

“We were not on our ‘A-game’ but they played well and caused us problems.

“Their link-up play is good going forward.

“They play one up and one behind, in Tom Bradshaw and Romaine Sawyers.

“Out wide they have Jordan Cook and Anthony Forde, or it can be James Baxendale.

“Walsall have some good technical players – they are a good footballing side.

“They are not the most physical of sides in the league but they can play. As we found out at their place in September, they can hurt you.”

Tickets cost £6 for adults and £2 for concessions and there will be no cash turnstiles.

PNE have rearranged the two home league games which had to be postponed because of their ongoing involvement in the FA Cup.

They face Yeovil on Tuesday, January 20, while Walsall visit again on Tuesday, February 17.