PNE’s top-half target

Daniel Johnson could be back in Preston's starting XI against Wolves 
at Molineux

Daniel Johnson could be back in Preston's starting XI against Wolves at Molineux

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Preston North End will hope to find themselves in the top half of the Championship by teatime tomorrow.

Beating Wolves at Molineux – and seeing a couple of other results go their way – would give PNE a leg-up the table.

They are in a group of five clubs separated by only three points – tomorrow’s hosts in there with them.

Fourteen points taken from the last seven games have seen North End take strong root in mid-table.

Bringing something back from the West Midlands would strengthen their hand further.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson said: “It would be good to push on into the top half of the table.

“We have still got a lot of games to go between now and the end of the season.

“The lads are positive, they are in good form and they stick together, as last week’s result against Huddersfield showed.

“We will see where it takes us, we’ll try to win as many games as possible and enjoy that challenge.”

Grayson is set to change the starting XI and formation tomorrow after PNE lined up 4-4-2 against Huddersfield.

It was only when he reverted to 4-3-3 in the second half that his side started to get more of a foothold in that contest.

Daniel Johnson, who started on the bench last week, could earn a recall – he and John Welsh gave the midfield more presence after coming on as substitutes.

Said Grayson: “DJ is a young player who has played a lot of football and I decided it was the right time to give him a bit of a breather. We played two in the middle of the park and I wanted Alan Browne in there, who is more physical.

“I didn’t think that DJ and Paul Gallagher could play as a two in there.

“The breather will have done DJ good, even if it was only for an hour.”

PNE and Wolves drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture, a game which saw red cards for Joe Garner and Bailey Wright.

With nine men on the pitch, they conceded a stoppage-time equaliser.

“I don’t think we ever go out thinking we owe anyone anything,” said Grayson.

“It is about getting three points, no matter what might have happened previously.

“The Wolves game at our place was one where we got less than we deserved – last week’s game against Huddersfield we got more than we deserved.”

Tomorrow’s game falls the day before the second anniversary of Sir Tom Finney’s passing.

Grayson said: “Sir Tom was such a fantastic servant of this club and football in general.

“It is two years since he passed away but he is certainly not forgotten. I believe that there might be a round of applause in the seventh minute by the Preston fans and I’m sure that the Wolves supporters will join in as well.

“That is the nature of football – everyone recognises fantastic servants of the game.

“Such applause would be fully deserved.”