PNE quartet to face former club

John Welsh
John Welsh
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Preston North End could have four Tranmere old boys aiming to shoot down their former club in tomorrow afternoon’s clash at Prenton Park.

John Welsh, Steve Simonsen, David Buchanan and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff have all previously served the Birkenhead outfit.

Welsh and Buchanan were there as recently as last season, turning down the offer of new deals to join North End during the summer.

Goalkeeper Simonsen started his career with Rovers before being sold to Everton for £3.3m.

Cansdell-Sherriff made 97 appearances for them during a two-year stay.

Welsh, Simonsen and Cansdell-Sherriff look likely starters against the League One leaders, having been in the side which beat Scunthorpe 3-2 in midweek.

Buchanan’s involvement in the match day squad will depend on his recovery from an injury which has sidelined him for the last four games.

He had an injection this week to try and reduce the swelling around the injury, and was hoping for a return to full training.

PNE boss Graham Westley is relishing the trip to the Wirral (3pm) which is set to attract a big following of North End supporters.

While Tranmere have suffered back-to-back defeats in the past week, they are still the side to catch at the top of the table.

Westley said: “The league table never lies and you always sit pretty much where you deserve to be.

“Tranmere were 12 games unbeaten which was a terrific start – they got out of the traps brilliantly well.

“Every Olympic final has a pace-setter and Tranmere are setting the pace well at the top of the table.

“I would sooner be top than in eighth place as we currently are but you don’t get prizes in October, you get them in May.

“It is about how you build your season that really counts.”

North End are hoping to herd as many supporters as possible into the Cowshed away end at Prenton Park.

They have an allocation of 2,000, with tickets available at Deepdale until 11.30 tomorrow.

Westley is hoping for a better outcome than last season’s trip which resulted in a 2-1 defeat.

He said: “We had a difficult four or five months last season when we became used to watching lacklustre football.

“It was a tough time and the Tranmere game was another night in that ordeal.

“We took the lead but then conceded two goals to lose.

“That night we took a big fan base who have stuck by us in thin times.

“We’ve given them a couple of better evenings this season at Doncaster and Scunthorpe.

“We gave them a decent day out at Bury, and I’m sure they will be there in their numbers tomorrow.

“After the performance we put in at Oldham a few weeks ago, we owe them one.

“We go there obviously buoyed by the Scunthorpe win and buoyed by what the lads have done this season.

“I’m pleased with their efforts because it’s not been an easy ask - they’ve acquitted themselves well.”