PNE aim to stay in touch with play-offs

PNE striker Joe Garner will face his former club Nottingham Forest
PNE striker Joe Garner will face his former club Nottingham Forest
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Preston North End will seek to hang on to the coat-tails of the pack of clubs chasing the play-offs when they face Nottingham Forest tonight.

Although a victory at the City Ground would not move the Lilywhites up the table, it would keep them in touch with those who have their eye on the top six.

Sheffield Wednesday occupy the final play-off place but are without a win in four games.

Cardiff, Birmingham and Ipswich have all squeezed up on the Owls, with North End still in touching distance.

“We will go to Forest, look to take the game to them, pass the ball well and hopefully get a positive result,” said Preston boss Simon Grayson.

“It should be a good game, they played very well at our place in November and were one of the better teams we have played at Deepdale.

“Forest were very quick that night and moved the ball well in attacking areas but we came out with the win.

“We go there on the back of a decent result against Brighton on Saturday.

“There was not too much between the teams and it is testament to us that we are saying that, bearing in mind Brighton are pushing for promotion.

“We defended really well – Chris Kirkland only had one save.

“But what we were disappointed about was that we didn’t take some of the chances we created.

“We played well at times, we were better with the ball as the game went on.”

Tonight’s game sees a return to the City Ground for Joe Garner – the PNE front man spent three years with Forest after a £1.1m move from Carlisle.

North End expect to have first-choice keeper Anders Lindegaard back tonight after a stomach bug kept him out of the Brighton game.

Said Grayson: “We think it was only a 24 to 48-hour thing and he should be okay.

“If not, we have a very able and experienced deputy in Chris Kirkland.

“Neil Kilkenny wasn’t in the squad on Saturday because he was injured, so we will see how he is.”

The keeper situation aside, Grayson is set to stick with the outfield players who have started the last five games.

He said: “There are various things you consider when it comes to picking a side, there is that balance to find between consistency and freshness.

“I often lean on the side of keeping things the same if the side has been playing well and getting results.

“If we need to change it, we can do that during the course of the game, as we did against Cardiff the other week.”