PNE have character says Cunningham

PNE defender Greg Cunningham

PNE defender Greg Cunningham

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Greg Cunningham believes that the strong spirit within the Preston North End squad has helped them pull results out of the bag in the closing stages of games recently.

Since the turn of the year, several points have been collected by the Lilywhites thanks to late goals.

Eoin Doyle’s 92nd-minute leveller against Queens Park Rangers a week ago, set up by a cross from left-back Cunningham, was the latest.

In the previous game at Bolton, Doyle netted an 86th-minute winner, while goals in the closing stages have brought them victories against Huddersfield, Bristol City and Rotherham this year.

Cunningham told the Evening Post: “We always think that there is still time to score a goal, we never give up and think, ‘That’s it’.

“We have shown time and time again that we can score late on. We got a winner in stoppage time against Rotherham, we were 1-0 down at home to Huddersfield with seven minutes left and won 2-1.

“You have to keep plugging away until the final whistle and doing that can sometimes make things go your way.

“In the QPR game, six minutes going up on the board gave us a boost. When the boot is on the other foot and you are defending a 1-0 lead, seeing so much stoppage time signalled can be a worry.

“Against QPR, we had the crowd behind us and we knew that if we got the ball into the right areas, we could get an equaliser.

“I tell you, it is a lovely feeling when you get a late goal.”

With PNE not playing over Easter for the first time in their history, the squad have been given a rare weekend off.

They trained during the week, with an inter-squad 11-a-side game played at Deepdale on Thursday.

Simon Grayson’s men will return to training on Monday to continue their preparations for the derby clash with Blackburn Rovers.

Said Cunningham: “It is a massive game at Blackburn and you can see by all the tickets that have been sold, how much it means to our fans.

“To have 7,000 there will be really special and we are going to be doing everything to try and get the win.

“Who knows where a good result there might take us?

“Our season is not dead, there is still loads to play for and the boys will certainly not let the season fizzle out.

“We’ve had some rest during the break, done some hard work, so we will be in good shape.”