PNE keeping their focus

Paul Gallagher wants to end the season in top gear
Paul Gallagher wants to end the season in top gear
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Paul Gallagher says there is no question of Preston North End dropping off into ‘holiday mode’ for the last seven games of the regular season.

The Lilywhites have all but secured themselves a place in the play-offs, Tuesday night’s 3-1 victory over Peterborough moving them 17 points clear of MK Dons in seventh place.

But midfielder Gallagher insists there will be no let up as North End want to take plenty of momentum into the play-offs and have not given up completely on an automatic promotion slot.

PNE boss Simon Grayson has challenged his squad to stay unbeaten for the rest of the campaign, a task which the on-loan Gallagher believes can be achieved.

“The manager has been drumming it into us that we aren’t in holiday mode and we need to build up some momentum,” said Gallagher.

“We have a good team which is capable of staying unbeaten and that is what we are aiming to do.

“I’m sure the manager has mentioned that if we’d had this team from the beginning of the season – no disrespect to others – then we would have got into the top two.

“We are still challenging for automatic promotion but, if not, we want momentum for the play-offs.

“Rotherham are flying at the moment and have that momentum, and we would have that too by staying unbeaten.

“I’ve heard someone say that we would have been clear at the top last season with the points total we have at the moment.

“It shows the quality of the teams in this league this time – it is a strong division.

“There are a lot of big clubs trying to get out of this division and we are one of them.

“We had a great win on Tuesday night against Peterborough and we’re back at Deepdale again on Saturday.

“That will be a tough game because Crawley are a decent side.

“The Peterborough win will have given us plenty of confidence and hopefully we can follow it up with another three points.”

Gallagher – who twice struck the woodwork in the midweek win – hailed Stuart Beavon’s performance.

While Beavon did not get his name on the scoresheet, he contributed to the victory with an all-action display.

“Beavs doesn’t always get the credit that he is due,” said Gallagher.

“He has been knocking on the door for a while and has to play well because there are some good strikers in the squad.

“I thought that Beavs and Joe Garner led the line well against Peterborough.

“Beavs has got a low centre of gravity, he twists and turns, buys fouls – he is a clever footballer.

“He and Joe gave us the chance to get up the 
pitch because of their movement.

“When the ball fell our way in the box, Joe is the player you want on the end of it because of his finishing ability.

“It was a big win because Peterborough are in the play-off places with us.

“We did okay in patches in the first half but overall it wasn’t good enough.

“Neil Kilkenny’s goal got us out of a bit of trouble but that did nothing to sweeten the half-time team talk from the manager.

“We came out for the second half, rolled up our sleeves and created some chances.

“Our performance was much better and we beat a good team.

“In the second half it only looked like there was going to be one winner.

“There were a couple of things which we had to defend in our box but it was mainly us doing the attacking.

“The aim is to follow this up against Crawley.”