PNE’s travelling army out in force

North End striker Will Keane scored twice in a midweek practice match
North End striker Will Keane scored twice in a midweek practice match
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Preston North End will have their biggest away following so far this season roaring them on against Fulham tomorrow.

Around 2,000 PNE fans are expected in the capital for the club’s first visit to Craven Cottage for 15 years.

It is the last London trip of the campaign, with visits to Brentford, Charlton and QPR already done.

North End manager Simon Grayson told the Evening Post: “I’m led to believe that there are going to be nearly 2,000 of our supporters there which is fantastic.

“Our fans love their away days, especially in the capital.

“We know they have enjoyed visits there over the last year or so and hopefully we can put on a really good performance and send them home cheerful with three points.

“The London trips have all come before Christmas and then, moving into January, we have Ipswich and Bristol City close together.

“After that it is pretty much northern and Midlands games which will make the travelling that bit easier.”

Suspension rules Bailey Wright out of tomorrow’s game, the centre-half starting a two-match ban for his red card against Blackburn last week.

Calum Woods’ fitness will be assessed ahead of the trip after a tight hamstring forced him out of the Rovers game at the interval.

Grayson could consider a change up front, with Stevie May or Will Keane possibly replacing Eoin Doyle.

Both May and Keane came on as substitutes last week, May having a hand in Joe Garner’s goal. Keane scored both of PNE’s goals in a midweek practice match against Blackburn at Brockhall which they won 2-1.

Said Grayson: “It is about getting the balance right, between being patient and trying to score goals.

“Joe and Eoin have been doing okay up there. Do we want a little bit more? Yes.

“Have we got other personnel who can do something a little bit different? Yes we have.

“We have to make sure we do the right thing for the team and we have the options.”

Last week’s reverse against Blackburn ended a six-game unbeaten run, the aim now for Grayson’s men being to bounce back to form.

Said Grayson: “When you look back at the Blackburn game, there was not much in it.

“Both teams defended well and we limited their potentially dangerous players to very few opportunities.

“I thought Blackburn’s two best players were their centre-halves who made it difficult for us to break them down.

“We had a lot of possession, did everything we could to win the game but ultimately were left empty-handed.

“As a group, we try to learn from every performance in order to improve.”

PNE defender Josh Heaton has joined National League North side Tamworth on loan until January 3.

Heaton, who signed his first professional deal in the summer, spent time with Tamworth last season.