PNE focus on derby clash

Preston North End's focus is fixed firmly on the weekend derby with Blackburn after an eventful few days when the spotlight veered away from Championship action.

Thursday, 8th December 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:32 pm
A lot has happened since Eoin Doyle scored against Sheffield Wednesday last weekend

The fight between Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford in last Saturday’s defeat at Sheffield Wednesday made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

That matter is now considered closed at Deepdale, both players having trained as usual this week.

Beckford also featured in a bounce game against Fleetwood on Tuesday as he looks to build his fitness after being limited to featuring in only eight matches this season.

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Stevie May played in that game in the latest stage of his comeback from knee surgery, with a return to the first-team squad getting closer.

Being drawn to face Arsenal in the FA Cup was a far nicer distraction for North End.

However, with six league games before they meet the Gunners, that is very much on the back-burner.

“Arsenal is a few weeks away, we have a lot of Championship matches before then,” said midfielder Paul Gallagher.

“We don’t want to look too far ahead, the main thing is putting some form together and getting as many good results as we can.

“We will have our professional heads on, our aproach has always been to concentrate on the next game and that is Blackburn.

“The manager does not get carried away, he will keep our focus on the league games.

“We had a setback last week but to be fair to the boys, we have often responded to a setback with a positive performance result.

“That is a good mentality to have in any football club, you don’t want to be losing too many games on the bounce.”

After the 2-1 loss to Wednesday which followed draws with Wolves and Burton, Simon Grayson’s men will be keen to return to winning ways when they host Rovers.

North End midfielder Ben Pearson said: “We’ve got to bounce back.

“We’ve had three bad results. We probably would have taken a draw before the Sheffield Wednesday game but looking at the last two home games, we really wanted to get three points.”

Supporters who buy a match day ticket for Blackburn will get a level of priority for the Arsenal game.

Top priority will go to season ticket holders, ambassadors and premier members, but fans with a Blackburn ticket will have their chance to buy ahead of general sale.