Alex Neil says the time has come for Preston to take their home form ‘by the scruff of the neck’ as they prepare for two big games at Deepdale.
They host sixth-placed Bristol City tonight and then welcome Fulham – going great guns in fourth – on Saturday.
Getting a decent return from those games would provide a significant boost to North End’s play-off push.
Should they beat City it would see them draw level on points with them.
In terms of points, PNE are playing catch-up when it comes to their home form.
They have taken 25 points in front of the home faithful compared to 29 on the road.
Preston boss Neil said: “We have some really important home games coming up and we want to take them by the scruff of the neck.
“We need to make our home form a bit better than it has been.
“In a lot of games at home we have maybe not moved the ball as well as we can.
“Teams have maybe set up to stop us a bit more than they do when we play away.
“We need to do what we did on Saturday, put together a performance and result.
“If we do that, hopefully we can get the fans at home to make as much noise as the away fans have been doing.
“At Bolton the fans were terrific – even at 1-0 down they could see what we were trying to do and stuck with us.
“We want to generate that type of atmosphere at home.”
Neil says the Preston fans should not underestimate the role they can play over the coming weeks.
“The reason they are called supporters and will be here longer than anyone else at the club, is the fact that regardless of the team playing well or not, they support the club,” said Neil.
“I think the supporters can sometimes underestimate the help they can give the players, particularly at high-pressure times of the season like it is for us at the moment.”
PNE welcome back Darnell Fisher after a two-game ban tonight.
Neil has a decision to make about whether to start Sean Maguire after he netted twice as a substitute at Bolton.
It was the Irishman’s first game for four months and some caution might still be required.
Josh Harrop did his chances of a start no harm at all when following Maguire off the bench at the weekend.
Said Neil: “We had two guys coming on to the pitch who made an impact.
“Josh had a part in two of the goals and Sean obviously scored twice.
“If we deem Sean is ready to start then he will come into consideration. If he’s not ready he won’t.
“On Saturday we probably forced him in a bit earlier than anyone was planning for.”