Midfielder says Preston North End set the performance bar high in finale against Middlesbrough

Alan Browne says Preston North End’s display in the final-day win over Middlesbrough has to become the norm in the 2022/23 season.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 16th May 2022, 8:00 am

It was generally accepted that the Lilywhites saved their best to last when beating Boro 4-1 a week last Saturday, sending them into the summer break in optimistic mood.

PNE skipper Browne pointed to a scattering of good performances and results over the course of the season but admitted those had not happened consistently – hence the mid-table finish.

The aim next season is to produce strong displays far more often, putting together runs of results to enable a challenge nearer to the top end of the Championship.

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Browne said: “I think we showed signs at different times of the season of what we could do, then things came together better than most against Middlesbrough.

“It was a really good performance all round. We finished strongly but it all starts again in the summer.

"We know people are leaving, we don’t yet know who is going to come through the door.

"It will be a a bit of a different team next season and we need to do our best in pre-season to make sure the players who are here are ready to churn out performances like against Middlesbrough.

"This is a tough division, teams come down every year with quality and with money to bring in even more quality.

"It can be tough to complete but this season some teams have challenged near the top who weren’t expected to be up there, so it can be done.”

Browne made 35 Championship starts and four more from the bench in the season just finished, scoring four goals.

Two of those came in the last two home matches, against Blackburn and Boro.

The 27-year-old is fitting a breather in at the moment before the football starts again for him in early June.

He’s likely to be in the Republic of Ireland squad for four Nations League games next month against Armenia, Ukraine (twice) and Scotland.

Those games take place between June 4 and June 14.

Pre-season training at North End will have an earlier start because the season kicks-off early on July 31 because of the break in November and early December for the World Cup.