PNE’s Joe going for goal

Joe Garner
Joe Garner
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Preston North End will be chasing their 7,000th league goal at Wolves tomorrow – and will have 3,500 supporters willing them to do it in the West Midlands.

Only nine clubs have gone through the ,7000-goal mark, and North End are vying with Sunderland to be the 10th.

Joe Garner netted their 6,999th league goal against Port Vale on New Year’s Day and the striker is likely to be restored to the side at Molineux after starting last week’s FA Cup tie at Ipswich on the bench.

Premier League strugglers Sunderland have scored 6,998 league goals going into the weekend.

The clash with Wolves has caught the imagination of the PNE fans, with the last few tickets of their allocation snapped up yesterday.

It is the third away league game in a row which Preston have sold out, and with results on the up, manager Simon Grayson is pleased with the progress being made.

And he says North End owner Trevor Hemmings deserves much praise for his financial backing which has aided the upwards push.

PNE boss Grayson said: “Mr Hemmings has really got the bit between his teeth again and knows where he wants the club to go.

“He has seen what we have managed to do as a team and a staff, and also how things have been galvanised with the supporters.

“We are taking 3,500 supporters to Wolves and the two previous away games have been sell outs.

“The whole club is now going in the right direction and it looks like Mr Hemmings has got his mojo back and is giving me the best opportunity by sanctioning certain deals to make things happen.

“This is a club which deserves to be in the Championship, based on the structure, the history, the supporters, facilities and stadium. We now have to fulfil that ambition on the pitch.

“The ingredients are there for a great game tomorrow. Our aim is to put on a performance and maintain our away form.

“If we can get a result, it will send 3,500 fans home in good spirits.”

Looking at the bigger picture, Grayson is keen to point out that whatever the result tomorrow, it will not define the season.

He said: “Ultimately the game is just about three points.

“We can go above Wolves if we win and they can pull away from us if they do.

“But there are so many other games to go that it isn’t a be-all and end-all game.

“It is a game we want to win and so do Wolves.

“There are loads more games to go over the rest of the season when points will be won and lost.

“What is riding on this game is keeping up our unbeaten away run and keeping our momentum going.”

On the selection front, Tom Clarke, Jack King and Chris Humphrey will rejoin the squad, having been rested for the Ipswich game.

Grayson said: “I have some good decisions to make. I will be liked by 11 players tomorrow, half-liked by the seven on the bench, and others will be disappointed.”