Grayson: Take it to the max!

Andy Boyle could return to the Preston squad at Huddersfield today
Andy Boyle could return to the Preston squad at Huddersfield today

Simon Grayson is aiming for Preston to have a happy Easter and still be within sight of the play-offs by Monday night.

The PNE boss accepts that his side might have to win all of their remaining games to be in with a shout of the top six.

While the odds are stacked against them, Grayson is not ready to wave the white flag just yet.

North End kick off their Easter programme against Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium today (3pm).

They then host Norwich City at Deepdale on Monday afternoon.

Grayson said: “The Easter weekend is often a defining one for clubs throughout the country.

“If you get two good results and other results go for you, then you have a good chance.

“We know we need to win four of the last five games if not all five in order to reach the play-offs.

“Come Monday night, we will have a clearer picture of where we are going to be.

“Let’s hope that we are still talking about being in with a chance going into the last three games.”

Should Preston fall short of the play-offs, Grayson says the target of bettering last term’s 11th-place finish remains.

They are just a point away from matching the 62 put on the board in 2015/16.

“Our ambition to start with was to finish above where we did last season,” said Grayson.

“We want to make sure that happens at the very least.

“I think everyone will look back at the season and think it has been a good one with the style of football implemented and the players we’ve brought to the club.

“We’ve progressed and will approach these last five games in a very positive manner, see where that takes us.”

PNE will be without Alex Baptiste who starts a three-match suspension for his red card at Leeds last week.

His absence is likely to see a recall to the squad for Andy Boyle who was left out of the 18 for the Leeds game.

Jordan Hugill could return having missed the Elland Road trip because of concussion.

He must get the green light from the club doctor before being allowed to play.

PNE have sold 1,700 tickets for today’s game and a limited number will be available on cash turnstiles.

Meanwhile, striker Tom Barkhuizen has scooped his second award in a week.

After being named the Championship’s player of the month for March, he has won the division’s goal of the month award for his strike against Reading.

On the contract front, PNE have offered pro deals to three of their second-year scholars, Melle Meulensteen, Callum Roberts and Josh Earl.

They have been offered one-year contracts with the option of a further 12 months.