Play-off pain can drive PNE on – Davies

Kevin Davies
Kevin Davies
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Preston North End front man Kevin Davies has his sights set on a successful campaign as he gears up for a 22nd season in the professional game.

The 37-year-old still feels a deep sense of frustration from PNE’s fall at the semi-final hurdle of last month’s League One play-offs.

But he is confident that the pain of defeat to Rotherham can be used to drive them on to better things in the 2014/15 campaign.

Davies told the Evening Post: “Even now – a few weeks on – I feel disappointed about the play-offs.

“Watching Rotherham win the final and get promotion didn’t make our defeat any easier to take.

“In the semi-final I really fancied us when we took the lead at their place, but it wasn’t to be.

“Towards the end of the season we witnessed a lot of scenes of joy involving other clubs.

“There was the Brentford game when they celebrated promotion, Crewe stayed up on the last day and then there was Rotherham beating us.

“We need to remember those scenes to help spur us on for next season. Our target will be to try and win the league.

“It will be a very competitive division again and we know where we have to be better.

“The stand-out from last season is that we drew too many games.

“We will learn from that, the young players can only get better and the manager has begun to strengthen the squad.

“I can only see us getting better and a lot of teams will be looking at us as being a threat.”

Davies has spent part of the summer break working towards his UEFA ‘A’ Licence coaching qualification at St George’s Park. And now he is starting to look ahead to Preston’s return to training next month.

Said Davies: “When the season finishes I always have a bit of a cut-off to allow the bumps and bruises to settle.

“We are back on July 3 and now is the time when I start doing some running and gym work to be ready for that.

“This will be my 22nd pre-season but I wouldn’t say it gets any harder.

“It is no longer a case of us doing five or six mile runs and not seeing a football for a couple of weeks.

“Most players come back in really good shape these days, not a million miles away from how they finished the previous season.

“When I was much younger we would have six or seven weeks off, enjoy ourselves, put on a stone in weight and then have the pre-season to get that weight off.

“Times have changed, we all have a fitness programme to do once we’ve had a rest.”

Meanwhile, North End will be seeded in the draw for the first round of the Capital One Cup which is being made next Tuesday morning.

The draw is regionalised and PNE are one of 17 seeds in the northern half.

Potential opponents include Accrington, Fleetwood, Morecambe, Burton, York, Bury and Rochdale.

Last year, PNE were unseeded and landed a plum home tie with Blackpool which they won 1-0 thanks to Tom Clarke’s 87th minute goal.