PNE looking for fifth successive home win

Joe Garner
Joe Garner
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Simon Grayson has his sights set on a fifth consecutive win at Deepdale when Preston North End host Gillingham tomorrow.

The Lilywhites have found their feet again on home turf in the last month, the timing important with the play-offs just around the corner.

Gillingham’s visit is the final home game of the regular season, before PNE come back one last time next month for a play-off semi-final.

Hopefully it will be the second leg which Grayson’s men are contesting here, and for that to happen they need to finish third or fourth.

North End are currently fourth, behind Rotherham on goal difference and two points better off than Leyton Orient.

In the last month they have beaten Peterborough, Crawley, Carlisle and Shrewsbury at home.

Adding the mid-table Gills to that list would be strengthen their position and boost confidence.

“We have set ourselves high standards over the last few months, and we’ve won four home games on the trot,” said Preston boss Grayson.

“In the last two home games we have scored 11 goals, and we want to continue that form against Gillingham.

“This is the last home game of the season and it will be good to finish in a positive manner.

“After this one, we go to Crewe next week and then it’s the play-offs.

“There have been times this season where we have created chances but not taken them.

“But credit to the players, over the last few weeks here they have been ruthless in the opposition’s 18-yard box and scored some very good goals.”

Grayson could recall leading scorer Joe Garner to the side tomorrow. The 23-goal striker missed the Carlisle and Brentford games, before coming on as a substitute against Shrewsbury.

Who features at right-back could potentially be something of a selection headache.

Tom Clarke came off at the interval against Shrewsbury with a slight calf strain.

With Keith Keane and Scott Wiseman sidelined by injury, Chris Humphrey and later John Welsh had to play there.

Grayson has put to one side the disappointment felt at not getting automatic promotion.

He does not feel that PNE will carry any psychological baggage into the play-offs after missing out on the top two, by reason they that they were not in the automatic places at any stage of the campaign.

Said Grayson: “The biggest disappointment for any team would be if they had been in the top two all season and then dropped out in the last few games.

“We have been in the top six from the first month of the season – we never got into the top two but have never dropped out of the top six.

“Over the next few weeks we will keep using every bit of experience that we have got to try and get through. We have progressed as a club this season.

“With our points total we would have got promoted automatically in many other seasons. But the same could be said for Rotherham and Orient too.

“We are still in a really good position and have got a good opportunity to get promoted.”