PNE need to get tougher – Welsh

John Welsh

John Welsh

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John Welsh takes the view that Preston North End have to give their opponents a tougher time at Deepdale in order to get back to winning ways.

Leyton Orient and Yeovil have both left Lancashire with a point in the last two games, results which have put a dent in the Lilywhites’ automatic promotion hopes.

PNE play their third home game on the spin on Saturday against Sheffield United in the FA Cup fourth round.

The Blades certainly look tougher opponents on paper than either lowly Orient or Yeovil were, midfielder Welsh citing the case for a meaner approach in order to get a foothold in the game.

They fell behind in both of those matches, meaning their play had to have an element of chase about it.

Welsh told the Evening Post: “We had to chase things against Yeovil and before that in the Orient game.

“We didn’t do the things which had served us well during the good runs we’ve had this season.

“We’ve got to get back to getting in teams’ faces, stand up to them, win tackles and headers.

“There is the quality in this group but we need to up the tempo and make ourselves hard to play against.

“In the past I have come to Deepdale as an opposition player and it is like a breath of fresh air playing here.

“You see the stands and the pitch and the pressure goes away, allowing you to enjoy it.

“If that is the case with the other team, then we have to show another side to us, make it tougher for them.

“Sheffield United will come here on Saturday and be well organised and hard to beat.

“They will have confidence from the last time we played them a couple of weeks ago but there is no reason why we can’t do well.

“We need to play more like we did in the second half against Yeovil than we did in the first half – I thought the gaffer got a reaction from us.

“We don’t want to be on this run, we want to be fighting for the top two.

“Our performances over 90 minutes aren’t quite what they should be at the moment, the lads all know that.

“We totally understand the fans getting frustrated because we should be doing better than we have been.”

Welsh won his place back for Tuesday night’s game after being on the bench against Orient last week.

He had missed the first two games of 2015 after suffering a bout of mumps.

“It was a bit of a surprise to get mumps at my age,” said the 31-year-old.

“I got the symptoms of a sore jaw and my neck swelled a bit but it was only a mild case compared to what it can be.

“For five days I had to stay away from the other lads and be at home, that was doctor’s orders.

“I’m fine now, I felt fine going into the Sheffield United game at their place.

“My performance that day was not up to the standards I expect and I could understand why I was on the bench for the Orient match.

“The gaffer put me back in against Yeovil. Hopefully we can get back to form as a team quickly, starting with the FA Cup tie on Saturday.”