PNE still sit in sixth place in the Championship table with the season on hold.
Mawene – now a fitness coach at League One outfit Fleetwood Town – knows all about play-off campaigns at Deepdale.
The Frenchman was a part of the Preston side that reached the play-off final in 2005, losing 1-0 to West Ham United at the Millennium Stadium.
The former Lilywhites no.5 is not surprised to see PNE near the top end of the table and believes they deserve praise, coming up against clubs with much bigger budgets.
Mawene told the Lancashire Post: “It’s looking good and it’s looked good for a while as well.
“At the start of last season it wasn’t great but even at that time when you’re speaking to people they were confident they were going to get out of it.
“The next thing you know they’d turned everything around and 12 months later they’re in a position to give themselves a right go at promotion.
“We all know about Preston and the play-offs.
“It’s still a long shot when you look at the teams in and around and the budgets, you’re going to think that Preston are obviously doing something right.
“Relatively, Preston are probably spending half, maybe three or four times less than some of them.
“It’s a case of getting over the line. I can only speak from my experience and in my time it was true that we nearly got there, if I had my time again I would probably tweak a few things.
“Having that good group of lads who know what they’re all about and having that little bit of belief and borderline carelessness and arrogance at times, when that is what’s required.
“It’s hard to say it but when you get to the big games you need big players with the big mentality.
“In your head you need to know when you’re going to win and find a way.”
With other sides local to Preston having had their time in the sun, Mawene would love to see his former side in the top flight.
Aside from a season at the pinnancle of the English game, the 40-year-old thinks long-term benefits are the real aim.
He said: “It would be massive for Preston to get there.
“Of the clubs who have managed to do it around my generation I look at Burnley for example, and Burnley then and Burnley now.
“You look at it and think that could have been Preston.
“It is game-changing and we know that, that’s why there’s so much at stake.
“You eventually get there and you might do what West Bromwich Albion have done, where you go up and come back down, you get a bit more momentum behind you and you get promoted again, but this time stay for three or four years.
“You get better money, you get better players, you get better facilities.
“For Preston, the Premier League would be massive, you have the long-suffering fans waiting for it, waiting to get one over on Burnley.
“You’ve got to love that – they try hard and they’ve got to do it for the fans.”
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