Alan Browne pinpoints the Preston North End season which could've been as Derby County agony recalled

Preston North End's Alan BrownePreston North End's Alan Browne
Preston North End's Alan Browne | CameraSport - Chris Vaughan
The PNE captain has surpassed 400 appearances for the club

Preston North End captain Alan Browne sees the 2017/18 season at the one which got away.

In Alex Neil's first campaign as manager at Deepdale, the Lilywhites took their chase of a top six spot down to the final day. Browne netted the only goal of an away win at Sheffield United. Preston, though, were pipped to the final play-off place by Derby County - who thrashed Barnsley, while North End saw off Burton Albion at home.

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The Rams finished on 75 points, with seventh placed PNE two worse off. In April, Derby had won 0-1 at Deepdale - a game in which Browne, with the game goalless, sent a penalty kick against the outside of the post. Chris Maxwell then failed to keep out Tom Lawrence's second half free kick. It's a game and turning point Browne hasn't forgotten, despite all the highs over the years.

"Yeah, I honestly believe, if we had gotten into the play-offs, we would've gone all the way," said Browne, in a video with PNE's in-house media. "That was the belief, right throughout the dressing room and staff. We just had the perfect mix and blend of everything. We were a really tight group; all of them have been that way since I've been here.

"But, it was a season that could've been so much more. It could've been really special. That goal (at Sheffield United) is the one which kept it alive, going into the last game. But, I obviously remember the penalty I missed against Derby at home. That kind of put it into Derby's hands. I think they finished sixth.

"It could and probably should've been us. But yeah, that's what I kind of look back on. That's just me being me, picking out the bad bits because I obviously had a really good season - probably by best for the club, that year. It didn't end the way we wanted to, but we gave it everything and took it right to the wire - it just wasn't to be."

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