PNE fans are top of the Kops

Preston fans will be back in the Bill Shankly Kop against Swindon
Preston fans will be back in the Bill Shankly Kop against Swindon
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Preston North End will have the backing of their fans on all four sides of Deepdale for Saturday’s crunch clash with Swindon.

A section of the Bill Shankly Kop is being opened up to home supporters to cope with a big demand for tickets.

Sales to PNE fans are already beyond the 12,000 mark for a game which could see Simon Grayson’s men promoted.

For that to happen, they must beat Swindon and MK Dons have to lose at Rochdale.

The Kop has been away fans only for some time now.

Swindon have sold around 700 of their 1,117 allocation, so the decision has been made to give the area of the Kop nearest to the Sir Tom Finney Stand to home fans.

North End general manager Ben Rhodes told the Evening Post: “When we played Bristol City the other week, the Town End and Invincibles Pavilion were both sold out.

“We had 14,000 home supporters that afternoon and hopefully there will be even more on Saturday.

“What we want to do is create the best possible atmosphere and having our fans at both ends of the ground will help that.

“It would be great to have a wall of noise around Deepdale to give our players the best backing possible.

“There might be fans who used to go on the Kop who want to move back there for this one.

“Others might have dropped off coming to the games in the last two or three seasons and fancy coming back to watch from the Kop.

“On Wednesday morning the phones were busy with fans wanting seats for Saturday and the ticket office has been busy.”

Supporters who have already purchased a ticket for other areas of the ground and want to move to the Kop can do so by visiting the ticket office.

The highest league crowd this season at Deepdale was 16,441 against Bristol City, that including a 2,442 away contingent.

Manchester United’s visit in the fifth round of the FA Cup saw a sell-out 21,348 attendance.

North End remain in the box seat in the chase for League One’s second promotion slot.

They have a one-point lead over MK, so matching or bettering their results in the final two games would see them clinch a return to the Championship after four years.

Ticket sales have also been strong for the final game of the campaign at Colchester a week on Sunday.

The 12.15pm kick-off will mean an early start for Preston supporters or a stopover in Essex but around 1,700 seats have already been sold.

PNE were backed by 1,244 fans at Notts County on Tuesday night, with 2,485 going to Port Vale last Friday.

“Our fans were outstanding at Notts County,” said North End manager Grayson.

“We do appreciate how they travel the length and breadth of the country in their numbers and how much money they spend following us.

“They deserve success and hopefully we can reward them with that.”