PNE fans can make derby difference

Marnick Vermijl is feeling more settled at North End
Marnick Vermijl is feeling more settled at North End
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Marnick Vermijl has called on the Preston North End supporters to be loud and proud at Turf Moor on Saturday.

A large travelling band of PNE fans are expected to make the short journey to East Lancashire to watch the Lilywhites tackle derby rivals Burnley.

Since arriving at Deepdale during the summer, the right full-back has been impressed by the vocal support he and his team-mates have received on the road.

And he has urged the fans for more of the same this weekend in what should be a tasty Lancashire clash.

“In every away game, the fans have been superb,” Vermijl said.

“I remember the support we got at QPR, as well as last weekend at Fulham and the Brighton game, which is even further.

“Every single away game, they are there to support us – they are doing a great job.

“I don’t know how many fans will be going to Burnley, but there will be a lot.

“The atmosphere is going to be great and as a player, these are the games that you want to play in.”

The former Belgium Under-21s international arrived on these shores five years ago after being signed by Manchester United as a youngster.

He was unable to break into the first-team picture at Old Trafford and was sold to Sheffield Wednesday earlier this year.

PNE boss Simon Grayson made Vermijl’s signing a top priority, especially after losing out on Chesterfield’s Tendayi Darikwa, who opted to join Burnley. After a slightly indifferent start, Vermijl is beginning to feel settled within his new surroundings.

He has played a significant role in North End’s recent run of six consecutive clean sheets in the league and was back in the starting XI on Saturday in a 1-1 draw at Fulham.

“The more you play, the more confidence you get and the more you start liking it at the club,” Vermijl said.

“It all adds up, but I’ve liked it here since the first minute I arrived. Of course I feel a lot sharper – you need that run of games to get your confidence up and then you start to see the real player that you are.”

Meanwhile, Grayson is hopeful that his men can start turning draws into wins sooner rather than later.

The team has drawn nine of their 18 Championship fixtures this season, including five of their previous eight.

On Saturday, North End were in a winning position against Fulham at Craven Cottage, but were pegged back in the closing stages and had to settle for a point.

“We are not a million miles away from turning those draws into wins,” said Grayson

“At Fulham in the last 10 minutes we were a constant threat. We were trying to win the game and were not prepared to sit back because I felt we would get an opportunity.”

PNE are still awaiting news of the severity of striker Stevie May’s knee injury sustained on Saturday.