Andy Boyle insists Preston North End’s poor finish to the season wasn’t for the want of trying.
With the play-offs out of reach, Simon Grayson’s side finished the campaign with five defeats in their last six Championship games, culminating in the 1-0 final-day defeat at Wolves on Sunday.
It means the Lilywhites finish the season 11th on 62 points, exactly the same return as 12 months ago.
“The aim when we couldn’t reach the play-offs was to finish as high as possible,” said Boyle.
“Sadly it’s petered out. It’s not for the want of trying, just sometimes it happens like that.
“It’s a disappointing way to end the season.
“It is hard to put your finger on why we’ve finished how we have.
“We’ve worked as hard as ever since we haven’t been able to make the play-offs.
“It just wasn’t to be.”
The winning goal at Molineux came after just 60 seconds, Wolves skipper Danny Batth heading home Jordan Graham’s corner.
North End then huffed and puffed for long periods but in a real end of season game it was the hosts who had the better chances.
“Conceding from a set piece at any time is disappointing but 60 seconds in you should be switched on,” said Republic of Ireland international defender Boyle.
“These things happen in football and I thought we gave a good account of ourselves.
“We went out and tried to claw our way back into it but conceding one of them after 60 seconds is not ideal.
“I thought we gave it a bit of a go towards the end, and I’m not sure if we were worth a point, but we just couldn’t find a way through.”
Despite the disappointing finish, Boyle feels there is plenty for North End to be proud of this season.
“We were in with a shout of the play-offs which was brilliant for the club,” said the 26-year-old, recalled to the starting line-up at Wolves.
“It wasn’t to be and we’ve just got to make sure we build on it again.
“Budget wise we’re in the bottom three or whatever and to compete against the massive clubs in the Championship is an impressive feat.”