PNE keep it clean

David Buchanan has been part of a solid North End defence this season

David Buchanan has been part of a solid North End defence this season

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Preston North End left-back David Buchanan is pleased that the Lilywhites have got back to keeping clean sheets in time for the six-game run-in to the end of the season.

PNE have shut out Sheffield United and Crawley in the last couple of weeks as they bid for promotion.

Simon Grayson’s side can now boast 16 clean sheets in league action this term, with four more recorded in cup games.

It is a defensive record which Buchanan is proud to have helped achieved, and he hopes it can be bettered in the coming weeks.

Buchanan told the Evening Post: “Keeping out the opposition is what we defenders are in the team for, first and foremost.

“Anything else that we can give to the side going forward is a bonus.

“We were solid again in the win against Crawley and it was nice to keep another clean sheet.

“Our defensive record has been good overall this season and long may that continue.

“I’m enjoying being back in the side again.

“The left-back position has been shared by Scott Laird and myself this season.

“Now I’m back in the side, I will work hard to make sure that I stay in.

“In the first part of last season I didn’t play too much but once the manager came in, I was back in from then.

“This season he has switched between the two of us and it is my turn at the moment to have the shirt.”

North End’s promotion push takes them to the West Country this weekend to face Bristol City. Bringing back three points from Ashton Gate would be a huge boost, either in the bid to force their way into the top two or at least to build momentum for a shot at the play-offs.

Said Buchanan: “Bristol City have threats in their side and have been going wel.

“We will go there having had a clear midweek to do some work on the training pitch and to get some rest.

“I’m one of those players who likes playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday but I do appreciate that at times you need a bit of a bit of a gap to get your feet up and recover properly.

“When it comes to what is happening in the upper reaches of the table, all we can do is look after ourselves.

“At times this season we have slipped up, which has been frustrating.

“Now we are at crunch time, we need to pick up results and take advantage if other teams have a slip.

“Momentum is important at this stage. Rotherham are on an amazing run and keep grinding out results.

“We are pretty much matching them and I’m sure Orient and Brentford are looking over their shoulders.”

PNE will have a fair-sized following behind them at Bristol City, with ticket sales almost at the 500 mark.

More than 1,100 had been sold by yesterday for the Gentry Day trip to Brentford on Good Friday.

And first-day sales for the Crewe game on May 3 were brisk, with 646 of the 2,296 allocation sold.