Invincible men

Billy Davies has told Preston's "New Invincibles" to keep their feet on the ground as they close in on a 125-year club record.

North End stretched their unbeaten run to 24 matches with Saturday's 5-1 thumping of Luton.

With 21 of those games coming in the Championship, the Class of 2006 has now equalled the second-best league run in Deepdale's history set by Gary Peters' title-winning side in 1995/96.

And Davies' boys are now just one game short of equalling the best-ever sequence in a single season – the 22 amassed by the real Invincibles in 1888/89.

"We are certainly not going to get carried away," said Davies as he looked back with pride on the club's biggest win for almost three years.

"We will enjoy the three points, enjoy the performance, but it is back to work now to prepare for Wednesday."

Preston will equal the record if they avoid defeat at

Southampton. But to beat it they must get something away to Championship leaders Reading in 12 days' time.

Davies and his players say records are the furthest

thing from their mind as they continue their charge towards the play-offs.

After last season's deep

disappointment at the Millennium Stadium, North End know it could all come to nothing once again if they take their eye off the ball for a minute.

"Saturday was nothing more than three points," said Davies. "It was just one game, however pleasing the final score.

"It was an important three points for us – as they all are. It keeps the run going and that is something we are trying to do game by game.

"We all have to be proud of what we are achieving here,

considering the size of this club, the fan-base and the spending power in comparison to a lot more in this division.

"But we can't afford to take anything for granted with the number of games we have left."

Preston moved back up to fifth in the table above Crystal Palace who could only manage a goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Davies' side have a six-point cushion over seventh-placed Cardiff, with a game in hand. Wolves, in eighth, are another four points further back.

Yet with 14 games – and 42 points – still untouched the North End boss knows the situation could change dramatically if his side do not remain totally focused.

Focus was not a problem against Luton as Preston led 2-0 going into the last eight minutes.

They suffered a momentary shock when a Tyrone Mears' own goal handed the visitors a lifeline.

But instead of sitting back and trying to cling on to a 2-1 lead they went straight down the other end and knocked in three more to finish the job off in style.

Mears made amends by scoring the third, Chris Sedgwick netted from the penalty spot after Mears had been upended by keeper Marlon Beresford and Claude Davis put the hat on an entertaining afternoon by blasting in the fifth in stoppage time.

Luton boss Mike Newell could have landed himself in hot water with the FA for comments he made after being ordered to the stand for a bust-up with referee Darren Brysdale and fourth official Steve Cummins.

He was also fuming that keeper Beresford was sent off for the foul on Mears.

But Newell had no complaints about the final result. He likened Preston to runaway leaders Reading for football ability and said: "There haven't been many places where we have been outplayed at times, but we were here."

Opposite number Davies commented: "That's very nice of Mike to say so.

"It's a great compliment to the players for the way they are going about their work right now.

"We are in a transition period here, we are trying to build again. It will take another couple of years, but we are doing great at the moment."

Davies confessed he had been worried about the freshness of his side after the long journey to Crystal Palace in midweek.

He changed his front two, bringing Dave Nugent and Brett Ormerod in for FA Cup hero Danny Dichio and Patrick Agyemang, but he left the in-form Claude Davis on the bench after his one-match ban, sticking with skipper Chris Lucketti.

"Claude knows the situation," he said. "Everyone knows the story.

"It has happened to Chris and it has happened to Youl (Mawene) and now it is happening to Claude.

"But it's like Danny. He is the one who should be hugely disappointed because of his performance in midweek at Palace.

"We have a squad here and it is important to bring in freshness at the right time.

"But the players are a great bunch and they fully understand the situation.

"It was a very professional performance.

"Fantastic, especially after we lost that delicate 2-0 lead.

"When you go to 2-1 there is always that little problem in your mind, but the lads showed great determination and courage to come straight back and knock in three more.

"They are a confident bunch, but they won't get carried away.

"They know there is still a long way to go and anything can happen.

"Getting past the 53 points mark takes the pressure off us now and we will give it our best shot to finish as high as we possibly can between now and the end of the season."

Preston's youth side went one better than the first team on Saturday, beating Stockport 6-0 in the quarter-finals of the Youth Alliance Cup with a performance boss Kevin Thelwell described as "awesome."

Ashley Stott hit a hat-trick, Anthony Warriner got two and Iain Howard scored the other.