A trip to Wembley will be a wonderful reward for Preston North End’s loyal supporters – that is the view of North End assistant manager Glynn Snodin.
Simon Grayson’s right-hand man is full of admiration at the road-miles the fans have clocked up following their team in recent weeks.
Over the last eight games, PNE have been away from home six times and have been faced with particularly long journeys to places such as Gillingham, Leyton Orient and Swindon.
On each occasion, the players have been backed by a loud and strong travelling band of supporters.
And Saturday was no different as nearly 1,000 fans cheered North End to a 1-0 victory over League One leaders Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Supporters will be on the road once more tonight, although they do not have too far to travel for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area quarter-final tie against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park.
A victory tonight will mean Preston are just two rounds away from a day out at Wembley and Snodin revealed the players are eager to make that a reality.
He said: “Our travelling support has been terrific this season, in terms of their numbers and noise they make.
“The supporters work hard for their money. It’s not easy for them. They do get up at five and six o’clock in the morning, go out to work and then spend their money watching Preston North End.
“It does not go unnoticed by us. We are all from that background – we know how hard it is to earn that money and the players understand that.
“It’s nice for us to have these cup ties, especially the JPT because the prize at the end of it is a day out at Wembley, which would be great for the fans as well as the players.”
Grayson may be tempted to give a number of his fringe players a run-out this evening, and Snodin believes it’s an opportunity for those players to stake a claim for a regular starting place.
He said: “When you look at our squad, no matter who comes in, it won’t make a difference to the strength of the team. They are all of a muchness – they train right and whoever plays will be ready because they know they will have to perform well if they want to keep that shirt.
“It might mean that the JPT gets it going for some players.
“I think that is what happened to David Buchanan.
“He came in, played well and he’s taken off from there.
“That is what we always say to the players in meetings, that there will always be opportunities.
“Look at John Welsh, who was out of the team but has come in and played like he’s never been away. That is because he’s trained right.”
Snodin also hinted that there might be a starting spot tonight for new loan signing Jermaine Beckford, especially as leading goalscorer Joe Garner is a doubt with a shin injury.
“I think Jermaine will be champing at the bit to put a Preston shirt on now. He’s a great signing and has got goals galore in him,” he said.