DJ wants derby hat-trick for PNE

Daniel Johnson is targeting a Preston win in their derby clash with Blackburn
Daniel Johnson is targeting a Preston win in their derby clash with Blackburn
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Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson is hoping for a third helping of away-day derby joy in Saturday’s clash with Blackburn.

The Lilywhites have enjoyed derby victories at Burnley and Bolton this season and go to Ewood Park looking to add Rovers to that list.

Johnson was on target in PNE’s 2-0 win against Burnley at Turf Moor in December.

Earlier this month, he was in the side which beat Bolton 2-1 after being 1-0 down.

“Blackburn away is one we are looking forward to,” Johnson told the Evening Post.

“The atmosphere will be good with the number of fans we are taking, and hopefully it can be a great day for them.

“We saw how much the wins at Bolton and Burnley meant to the fans and the target is to get three points again.”

Saturday lunchtime’s trip along the A677 is the first of seven games for PNE in April.

Simon Grayson’s men still have an outside chance of making the play-offs, while a number of their remaining games involve opponents who have much to play for at both ends of the Championship.

Johnson said: “This is a busy month with seven games, so the rest we have had during the international break has been welcome.

“We will see where these seven games take us – and the last one in May.

“As a team, we are in a good position and there is still everything to play for.

“Our aim is to pick up as many points as we can and go from there.

“When you look at the games, most teams have something to play for, whether they are fighting to get promotion, want to get into the play-offs, or are trying to stay out of the relegation zone.

“With us, there is still a chance of the play-offs although that is not really in our hands.

“We will keep pushing on and, who knows, a run of good results might take us somewhere.

“At the moment, we are where we are and the teams around us are where they are.”

Johnson, who is top scorer at Deepdale with seven goals, says the fact Preston are in 10th place in the table and still aiming higher, comes as no surprise within the squad.

Outside of the club, the fact that they have settled well into the division from the autumn onwards, has certainly raised a few eyebrows.

Said Johnson: “I don’t think there is much surprise within the group that we have done well this season.

“We knew what quality there was in the changing room and we trusted each other to be competitive in the division.

“Maybe others have been surprised with us being a newly-promoted club.

“But we are not patting each other on the back yet, there are still plenty of games to play and points to try and get.

“We are not finished yet and want to do well over the next month or so.

“Training has been good in the international break – we have worked hard and got some rest too.”