PNE more than a match for anyone, says skipper Clarke

Tom Clarke
Tom Clarke
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Captain Tom Clarke believes Preston North End have shown they are more than a match for anyone in the Championship.

The Lilywhites have just come through what looks on paper to be the toughest month of their season, picking up 10 points of the 15 available along the way.

PNE have taken on the top four sides in the division in Newcastle, Brighton, Huddersfield and Norwich, as well as another one of the big boys in Aston Villa.

The 6-0 hammering by the Magpies in the EFL Cup aside, North End’s league form has been impressive, with Clarke and his team-mates now looking to end this run of games before the international break on a high, when they head to Rotherham on Saturday.

“Last season we did well against the big teams,” said the skipper, who saw his side lose 2-1 to leaders Newcastle last time out.

“We looked at the fixtures and knew it was going to be a difficult month but we were playing well and going into them with confidence.

“I’m just pleased that we got the results that we did.

“We were disappointed with Saturday but we came away with great credit and we go to Rotherham with good confidence.”

Some could be forgiven for thinking the trip to the New York Stadium will be a 
come-down for PNE.

Having tested their mettle against the best the Championship has to offer, Simon Grayson’s side head to South Yorkshire to face a Millers side currently six points adrift at the bottom.

They have changed manager however, former Wolves boss Kenny Jackett replacing Alan Stubbs, who was dismissed after just 140 days in charge.

Clarke insists there will be no let up from PNE.

“We won’t let that happen,” said the central defender. “We’ve got a week to focus, get on the training pitch and work on what their strengths and weaknesses are.

“It’s a big game because it’s the next game and we’ll be doing all we can to get the result we want.”

After such a good run of form, Preston will bid to head into the international break on the back of a good result, PNE not back in action after Saturday until Wolves visit Deepdale on November 19.

“The games have been coming thick and fast, with the cup in there,” said Clarke.

“We’ve got a full week to recharge the batteries and go again against Rotherham, which is another big game before the international break.

“You want to go into that with a win.”

Meanwhile, PNE midfielder Paul Gallagher has been nominated for the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award for October.

He is joined on the Championship shortlist by Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle, Sheffield Wednesday’s Gary Hooper, QPR’s Massimo Luongo, Cardiff’s Peter Whittingham and Brighton’s Sam Baldock.