PNE defender targets first home win

Greg Cunningham

Greg Cunningham

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Greg Cunningham says Preston North End’s attention is focused on improving their home form after a good spell on the road.

The Lilywhites return to Deepdale on Saturday evening for the derby clash with Bolton Wanderers (6pm).

It follows the taking of four points from the away games at Charlton and Brighton.

North End have yet to win in front of the home faithful in the Championship, their one home victory this season being against Watford in the Capital One Cup.

That is a statistic which defender Cunningham says must change for the better.

“It is a game under the lights which we are looking forward to,” Cunningham told the Evening Post.

“The lads are keen to be back playing in front of the home fans again and our target is a first win here in the league.

“We have probably been a bit unlucky in a couple of the games at Deepdale so far, the Wolves game springs to mind, so does Ipswich.

“There were a couple which we have probably deserved to win and now we have to make sure we start taking points.

“Listen, we have been in every game this season.

“Not once have we felt ‘my word, we’re out of our depth here’.

“At times we haven’t had the rub of the green, at other times we’ve been punished for making mistakes.

“We have had a couple of good results on the road in the last week and now is the time to kick-on and hopefully get a result back here.

“There is no way that we will be under-estimating Bolton.

“They are struggling a bit having played some good stuff but not getting results.

“You look at the gap from mid-table to the bottom and it is only a few points, it’s tight.”

Cunningham has been part of a defence which can boast three successive clean sheets.

Two of those, at Charlton and Brighton, were achieved with the Irishman playing in a makeshift three-man back line with Bailey Wright and Calum Woods.

Moving into the middle from his normal left-back slot is not a completely new thing for the 24-year-old.

Cunningham said: “I have played at centre-back a couple of times before at other clubs.

“We have been happy with the clean sheets and it is something we’ve worked hard to do.

“If we can be hard to beat at one end, it gives us the chance of winning it at the other.

“There have been a few injuries in defence recently but we haven’t felt sorry for ourselves.

“The gaffer has put a good squad together so that we can cover spells like this.

“Bailey Wright is there in the middle of Calum and myself, pulling it all together.

“Three clean sheets in a row, two of them away, has been good to do.

“We were good from start to finish at Charlton and then the point we got against Brighton was a deserved one.

“You might argue that we possibly deserved more from that game.”