Josh Harrop cannot wait for PNE’s ‘cup final’ at Sheffield United

Josh Harrop thinks Preston’s visit to Sheffield United will be akin to a cup final as both sides bid to stay in the play-off hunt.

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Preston midfielder Josh Harrop in action against Norwich

Preston midfielder Josh Harrop in action against Norwich

It is the last chance saloon for North End and the Blades when they meet at Bramall Lane on Saturday, with a win only good enough to carry their top-six hopes into the last weekend of the season.

PNE midfielder Harrop is looking forward to the clash which he predicts will be an attacking affair.

“That game is almost like a cup final, we have to treat it that way,” said ex-Manchester United man Harrop.

“We have to get three points out of it and they are the same.

“I think it will be a very good game and it should be an attacking game.

“Both teams have to go for it and hopefully we can come out of it on top. This is the probably the most important game I will have experienced in the sense of where it could put us.

“As a team we will push as hard as we can and we need all the fans behind us.

“A lot of the teams around us have to play each other so there will be points dropped.

“If we can win both of our games, we will see where that takes us.”

Lively appearances from the bench in the last three games against Leeds, QPR and Norwich, will not have done Harrop any harm in terms of starting this weekend.

The 22-year-old has found it difficult to force his way into the starting XI, with only nine starts in the Championship.

He has come off the bench in 27 league games, Harrop’s last start having come in the 1-1 draw with Birmingham in January.

Harrop naturally would like to start more but says he is continuing to learn about the Championship.

“I’m eager, I’m young and I want to be playing but a lot of games are different in the Championship.

“Some games are more physical and some are more technical,” said Harrop.

“The manager has to get it right with me, he is working on my positional play and on the defensive side of my game.

“He is trying to teach me the game a bit more from a Championship point of view.

“I will keep learning and hopefully get my opportunity.”

Harrop is one of a number of younger players in the North End squad, especially in attacking areas.

With that in mind, he says the influence of the older heads in the dressing room can be key at this stage of the campaign.

Said Harrop: “We do look to the older lads, for instance if there is a game we need to see out they have that bit more experience to get us through.

“Players like Tom Clarke and Paul Gallagher talk us through games, they play a big part.”