Preston North End midfielder Alan Browne keeping a close eye on twists and turns of Championship play-off race
It is certainly hotting up at the sharp end of the Championship.
Preston North End’s eight-game unbeaten run at the start of 2019 has seen them shoot into the top 10 in the Championship.
The 3-1 win over Millwall last time out saw them close the gap further to the top six as an unlikely play-off run gathers pace.
The Lilywhites then watched on as this Saturday’s opponents Bristol City slipped up with a 2-1 defeat against Birmingham City on Tuesday night.
That means PNE next host a side who are just six points above them in the final play-off place in what has turned into an increasingly significant game at Deepdale.
Like most North End fans, Alan Browne was one of those keeping a close eye on events at Ashton Gate in midweek.
“Anyone who says they’re not having a look at results is probably lying,” said the Irishman.
“Of course you have a look.
“It wasn’t on TV but I kept looking at the live score and looking for the result because it does make a difference to us now.
“It was a great result for a lot of teams and it helped give us an outside chance.
“Managers will say you’ve got to focus on yourself and at the end of the day whether Bristol won or lost that is what we’ll do.
“We can only change the outcome of our games, we can’t change anything else.
“You definitely keep an eye on it because you need some teams to get results for you but you try and let that take care of itself.
“There are a lot of teams on similar points and they’ll all be wanting to catch the team above them.
“With the form we’re in there’s no reason why we can’t go and do that.
"It’s a lot to ask but we’ll try to make the most of it.”
PNE’s fine run of form has seen a side bottom of the table at one point in October rise into the upper reaches in recent weeks.
A season hit hard by injuries, suspensions and some poor performances in the early weeks of the campaign has really come together.
Browne is pleased that everyone, fans included, kept the faith.
“When we were short of numbers you had to get through games and you couldn’t really perform to the level that you would have if you could get a break here and there,” he said.
“We couldn’t do that because of the numbers and the gaffer was aware of that.
"The fans were too, they stuck with us and didn’t get on our backs.
“They realised the situation we were in.
“I know when we were down there some people were worried but I think this was always coming.
“Us as players knew our form would turn around and that when we got people back we could really go and show them what we’re about.”