PNE focused on Toon test

Preston North End's Paul Huntington
Preston North End's Paul Huntington
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Preston North End will play in front of the biggest crowd since the play-off final at Wembley when they face Newcastle tonight.

Ticket sales for the EFL Cup clash at St James’ Park had topped 42,000 yesterday, with that figure set to rise ahead of kick-off.

Around 1,500 North End supporters are expected to be up in the gods – the away section is situated in the top tier of the stadium.

At stake this evening is a quarter-final place, with PNE never having made it that far in the competition’s history.

So while there are likely to be changes to the starting XI from that which beat Norwich, the trip to Tyneside is being taken very seriously.

“We want to win every game we play and go as far as we can in every competition,” said North End No.2 Glyn Snodin.

“If we can beat Newcastle and get to the quarter-finals, there would be some great teams left in there.

“Getting a home tie in front of the cameras or one of the big clubs away, would be great for revenue purposes.

“We want to continue this very good run which we’re on at the moment.

“When you are on a run like this, you can’t wait for the next game to come, especially when it is at St James’ Park.

“The fans up there love their football and get right behind them.

“We have to make sure we quieten them down as early as we can and hopefully we can go on and do what we did against Bournemouth in the previous round.”

North End will be without Saturday’s match winner Alex Baptiste, the defender cup-tied after playing for parent club Middlesbrough in a previous round.

Also cup-tied is Marnick Vermijl, preventing his return from a hamstring injury.

Baptiste’s absence is likely to see Paul Huntington back in the side.

Huntington began his career with Newcastle, making 16 appearances – two of them in the UEFA Cup.

Simon Makienok, who was PNE’s hat-trick hero in the third round at Bournemouth, could start up front.

North End face Newcastle again on Saturday in the league at Deepdale.

Snodin said: “They are two different competitions and our focus is on the cup game because it’s the next one.

“There is probably less pressure on us in the cup with going up there.

“At the same time, we want to put on a good show and performance and get through to the next round.

“Saturday is a different matter and we will be wanting to keep up our good form in the Championship.

“This is another test against a side high up in the league.

“We have done well so far in the run of games and if your mind set is right, you give yourself a good chance.

“If we get our organisation right, which we need when we go away to these teams, it does its job. We showed that with a great result at Norwich.”