Holmes under starter’s orders for PNE

Lee Holmes hopes to be involved for Preston at Molineux
Lee Holmes hopes to be involved for Preston at Molineux
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LEE Holmes is hoping to keep hold of his recently-retained place in the Preston North End side for the weekend’s big clash with Wolves at Molineux.

The midfielder returned to the starting XI for the win against Port Vale on New Year’s Day, and then started last weekend’s FA Cup tie at Ipswich.

In both games he claimed an assist, crossing for Joe Garner’s first goal in the Vale game and then playing in Kevin Davies for the equaliser against the Tractor Boys.

In the previous four games Holmes had appeared as a substitute, having recovered from a hamstring injury sustained in November’s draw with Colchester.

Holmes told the Evening Post: “It has been nice to start the last two games, and getting 90 minutes at Ipswich was great.

“We have a great squad here and a strong spirit, and we all support each other, whoever is in the team.”

The visit to the West Midlands on Saturday sees a clash of second versus fourth in League One.

Wolves hold a two-point advantage over North End but have played a game more.

Holmes admits it is a ‘big game’ but stresses that with the season having only just entered its second half, it will not have a major bearing on the final shake-up.

“This is the type of game which everyone wants to be involved in,” said 26-year-old Holmes.

“We have come a long way in quite a short period of time, and to be looking forward to a big game like that is great.

“This week we have been preparing properly for this game, doing the right things in order to try and get the three points. The top four in the division have cemented themselves up there.

“It is now up to someone to make a little run for it and put themselves into a strong position.

“Wolves away is a big game but it is not going to seal anything one way or another. It is not going to define a season.

“It is a big game because both sides are up there and want the same thing.

“Both teams will respect one another and I am sure it will be a great game to watch and be involved in.”

Holmes, who was among a group of PNE players to recently sign one-year contract extensions, was in the North End side which drew 0-0 with Wolves at Deepdale on the opening day of the season.

He started the first eight games of the campaign before having to make do with a place on the bench for the next couple of months.

Away ticket sales for Saturday’s game continue to be brisk, with North End yesterday selling a large chunk of the additional 900 tickets they were allocated.

It is expected that it will be a 3,498 sell-out in the away section at Molineux.

PNE boss Simon Grayson has reported no fresh injury worries ahead of the game.

Jack King (foot) and Chris Humphrey (tight hamstring) missed the Ipswich game as a precaution.

The previously ever-present Tom Clarke was also rested for the cup tie after his big workload, in order to be fresh for Saturday.