PNE aiming high

Lee Holmes says the top five have set high standards this season
Lee Holmes says the top five have set high standards this season
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Preston North End winger Lee Holmes says the bar has been raised high in the battle for promotion at the top of League One.

The points total needed to go up automatically this season will be a lot higher than in previous years.

And the league table has a top-heavy look about it, with the top five well clear of the rest – there are 12 points between fifth-placed PNE and Peterborough in sixth.

Holmes is not getting himself bogged down with comparisons to previous years, preferring to concentrate on the task in front of North End over the next few weeks.

“When you look at the table it just goes to show how good the top few teams really are,” Holmes told the Evening Post.

“We feel that we have had a great season and we want to continue that.

“Yes, there are things that you can look back on and think we could have nicked a couple more points here and there.

“If that had happened we would have been in a slightly better position.

“When you look at the league, Wolves have done very well.

“Brentford and Leyton Orient have been up there all the time, then Rotherham have obviously come good.

“We are right in there with them and the bar has been set.

“As a club we aren’t giving up on automatic promotion or settling for the play-offs until it is confirmed.

“We are in a position where we think that we are capable of winning our last five games.

“If that is enough to take us up, brilliant. If not then we are in great shape for the play-offs. All the clubs up there will be having a little look at each other and thinking who they might fancy playing if it is to be play-offs.

“I don’t think we would be high up on anyone’s list to play.

“Our focus is getting ready to play Carlisle on Saturday.

“We went up there and won on Boxing Day and it would be great if we could do the same here.

“There should be a decent crowd and getting a win would keep us right up there.

“We have worked hard already this week, the gaffer likes the training sessions to be intense and sharp at whatever stage of the season it is.

“Yesterday, we had a weights session after the main training, so we are not easing up in any way.”

Holmes, 27, has started the last two games against Crawley and Bristol City after a spell sat on the bench.

He operated in different positions in the two games – on the right wing for the Crawley win and then in the ‘hole’ at Ashton Gate.

Said Holmes: “It is nice to have played these two games and hopefully I have done well enough to have impressed the manager.

“I’m happy to play wherever I’m asked to. Everyone knows that I just like to get on the ball to try and make things happen.

“It is an old cliché, but the team winning comes above any individual performances.”

Meanwhile, North End are down to their last couple of hundred tickets for the Gentry Day game at Brentford. And fewer than 1,000 remain for the visit to Crewe on May 3.