PNE on a mission

Notts County goalkeeper Roy Carroll
Notts County goalkeeper Roy Carroll
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Preston North End will be looking to change Notts County manager Shaun Derry’s opinion tonight.

The two League One sides clash in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area semi-final at Meadow Lane.

On Saturday, the Magpies were well beaten 3-0 at home by Swindon Town – prompting Derry to call the Robins the best team his side have faced this season.

With North End only a couple of points behind second-placed Swindon in the table, they will be hoping to prove to Derry that they are a team also to be reckoned with this season.

County are going pretty well themselves – they are currently in seventh spot, just one place outside the play-off zone.

They will be hoping to get back to winning ways tonight against PNE and book their spot in the two-legged northern area final against Walsall.

Derry said: “We had to take our medicine on Saturday. Swindon are the best team I’ve seen at this level.

“But it’s down to how we respond now against Preston tonight.

“It’s a massive game and it’s what we are in the game for,” he said.

““It’s a competition we have taken seriously all season and all the boys need to be ready and champing at the bit.”

It was on the opening day of the campaign when North End met County for the first time this season.

With a team comprising of former Manchester United stars Alan Smith and Roy Carroll, along with ex-PNE midfielder Nicky Wroe, the Magpies looked like they were heading for a surprise victory after taking the lead early in the second half.

It was a lead they held stubbornly on to until the final moments of the match when Joe Garner equalised and rescued a point for the home side.

“They came with some tactics to slow the game down, said North End assistant manager Glynn Snodin.

“I remember Roy Carroll taking his time a lot, but I think it will be a different game tonight.

“They are having a great season to be fair when you look at what they have done so far.

“Shaun’s brought some experience to the team and he’s made them a hard team to beat.

“They are a very strong and physical side – they’ve got some experience in there.

“It’s going to be a tough game.”

In the last round, County secured a terrific 1-0 away win at Doncaster Rovers.

And North End winger Kyel Reid knows his men will have to be on their mettle if they are to secure anything from the game.

“It will be a good game,” he said. “I am sure they will be up for it. Obviously they lost at the weekend and so will be wanting to come out tonight and put a performance in.

“They will be wanting to get back to winning ways but it’s down to us and what we do. They are doing well and the manager Shaun Derry has gone in there and put his stamp on the team.

“He’s had time to work with them and put over his style of play. It’s obviously working for them because last season they were fighting relegation.

“It shows once you get a team together, anything is possible.”