Midfielder eyes continuation of PNE's strong league form

Alan Browne says Preston North End can take plenty of heart from their fightback at Aston Villa into Saturday's clash with Ipswich.

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 5:00 am
Preston North End's Alan Browne battles with Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood

PNE came away from Villa Park with a 2-2 draw having trailed 2-0 at half-time.

They have suffered only one defeat in their last eight Championship matches and going further back, have lost just three times in the league since mid-September.

North End’s assignment this weekend is to maintain that form when Ipswich Town visit Deepdale.

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“As long as we play like we did in the second half and not the first half against Villa, we will give anyone a game,” Browne told the Evening Post.

“Our second-half display was completely different to the first, we were more like what we had been for the last couple of months.

“In the first half we didn’t give ourselves a chance, it was not what we are usually about.

“We got back in it thanks to a brilliant goal from Jordan Hugill and after that you could sense that an equaliser wasn’t far away.

“Jordan’s first goal gave us momentum and we took it from there.

“Had we forced it a bit more late on, we could have won it but after being 2-0 down, a draw was a good result.

“We’ve got to play like we did in the second half for the whole game this weekend, go at Ipswich from the start.

“Our form has been good recently, Leeds was our last defeat in the league and that was tough to take losing by such a big margin.

“Ipswich haven’t been in the best of form but saying that, they have some very good players.”

Browne recently made his 100th appearance for North End, the century coming up at Burton on January 2.

He has started the last three league games, while he came on as a substitute in the FA Cup clash with Arsenal.

His starts against Villa and Brighton owed much to Ben Pearson being suspended.

Pearson has completed his ban for reaching 10 bookings and is available to play against Ipswich.

Browne, 21, said: “I have been here for three years and it has been a fantastic time.

“Getting to 100 games when we played at Burton was a big moment, it wasn’t the best of games but we won it.

“Maybe I got to 100 quicker than expected but I’m pleased to have played so many games at my age.

“These last three years have flown by to be honest and hopefully there are lots more appearances to come.”

Meanwhile, a number of senior players including Eoin Doyle, Stevie May, Jermaine Beckford, Liam Grimshsaw Tom Barkhuizen and Andy Boyle played in a bounce game against Bury at Carrington on Tuesday – May netted the contest’s only goal.