PNE on Madejski mission
Preston North End hit the road for one last time this season with a double against Reading in their sights tomorrow.
The Lilywhites boast a good away record, with seven wins, seven draws and eight defeats on their travels.
Victory at the Madejski Stadium would complete a league double over the Royals, a Joe Garner penalty having given PNE a 1-0 win in December’s reverse fixture.
Three points would also boost their chances of finishing in the division’s top 10, with Leeds to come at home on the final day.
North End boss Simon Grayson has been banging the drum about a strong finish to the season.
He thinks his players’ efforts have merited much more than they have got in recent games.
PNE have gone five matches without a win, their last success coming at Blackburn at the start of the month.
Grayson said: “We have two games to go and we want to finish with more points and two good performances.
“When you look back at the last few games, we have played well – we haven’t been in holiday mode.
“In the first half against MK Dons it could have been a cricket score. At Birmingham we showed the character and desire to battle back from being 2-0 down to draw 2-2.
“We were disappointed to lose to Burnley but we gave them a run for their money.
“The players are still giving everything at this late stage of a long and demanding season.”
Grayson will have Marnick Vermijl and Eoin Doyle back available tomorrow.
Vermijl has recovered from a foot injury, while striker Doyle returns, having missed the Burnley game for family reasons.
Ben Pearson (heel) and John Welsh (calf) will have their injuries assessed today.
It is likely that a shoulder problem will sideline Anders Lindegaard again, with Chris Kirkland deputising.
Awaiting North End are a Reading side who currently occupy 15th place.
Said Grayson: “Reading fall into the category, like a few other teams do, of having under-achieved this season.
“That is, given the quality of players they have got and the money spent.
“Brian McDermott, who I know well, went in there halfway through the season and knows a lot about the club.
“He is a really good football person who was harshly treated at Leeds.
“It will be next season when Brian can stamp his mark on Reading and get the people in who he wants.
“Hopefully it is me smiling after a win tomorrow and not Brian.”