DJ wants PNE in Premier League!

Daniel Johnson hugs hat-trick hero Jermaine Beckford
Daniel Johnson hugs hat-trick hero Jermaine Beckford
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Daniel Johnson now has a gold play-off final winner’s medal to match his gleaming gold tooth.

But the midfield maestro is not content with clinching promotion to the Championship.

The ex-Aston Villa man is eyeing a return to the Premier League with PNE as believes Simon Grayson’s men can battle it out with the Championship big boys and seal back-to-back promotions.

He said: “I am 100% looking forward to Championship football next season.

“There was never any other aim, that was the goal.

“There are some great teams in the Championship but why not go again and see if we can get the other one and get promoted again.

“The Premier League is now the aim.”

Bargain buy Johnson has shone since joining Grayson’s PNE revolution back in January.

And the central midfielder admitted he was overwhelmed to have achieved his goal by becoming won of North End’s history boys as they broke the play-off curse with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Swindon Town.

He said: “When I was coming here I knew the position that Preston were in – challenging for promotion – and I just want to come here and add the quality that I have to the team.

“We did that against Swindon. We came to London to get the job done and we did it.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better – especially with the goals and the team effort. The work rate has been fantastic since the day I joined.

“It has been terrific, the run has been unbelievable.

“No word can really explain how the day went but it was unbelievable.”

Johnson believes the secret to North End’s success was executing their game plan and snuffing out Swindon’s attack.

Just weeks after the Robins fired five past Sheffield United to seal a date with North End at Wembley, the boys in white thwarted Swindon’s attack and kept yet another clean sheet.

And Johnson says the key to the victory was the team ethos and ignoring PNE’s past play-off failures. He said: “We didn’t really think about it.

“Everyone says, ‘Oh the hoodoo’ but we just went out there today and did the job.

“We worked hard today, we stopped them from playing.

“We knew what their game plan was, we stopped them and we executed our game plan.

“The proof of that is in the goals that we scored and the fact that we kept another clean sheet.

“It is always good to keep a clean sheet but the stage of the game, to do it at Wembley was even more brilliant.

“It is just overwhelming.”

And Johnson is pleased by the manner in which North End recovered from their final day heartbreak to lift the play-off final trophy in style. He said: “We bounced back and we had to do that to be honest.

“After that game at Colchester everyone was down and the journey back was a very long journey because we had lost.

“But then a couple of days after that we got back, hit the 
ground running, started working hard.

“We played two games against Chesterfield and we overcame them.

“That was a brilliant two games as well.

“And now we did it at Wembley. It was a fantastic feeling and the fans were brilliant.

“We will have our break now, come back next season and go again.”