Preston North End are fresh and raring to go at Derby after their extended break says Ryan Lowe

Ryan Lowe thinks a fresh and refocused Preston North End are in good shape to tackle the last eight games of the season.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 1st April 2022, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites return to action after more than a fortnight’s gap in the fixture list when they face Derby County at Pride Park tomorrow (3pm).

Lowe gave his squad time off in the first part of the break and has since had plenty of time with the players at Euxton getting them prepared for the run-in which features some tasty clashes.

While Blackpool’s visit to Deepdale to just around the corner, it’s the trip to the East Midlands to take on Wayne Rooney’s men which is occupying PNE manager Lowe’s thoughts at the moment.

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Lowe said: “The lads have had a lot of work in the last few days and then we got the international players back yesterday – we had to taper their training load because they’ve been away.

"They had had some time with their families and came back at the end of last week with a spring in their step which was nice to see.

"The players have been around one another for the last eight months or so, more or less every day. So sometimes it is nice to have a breather in terms of some time off away.

Preston North End defender Greg Cunningham

"We gave them that time so that they can have a really good push for the last eight games of the season and finish as high as they can.

"In the last five or six training sessions I have seen a real determination from them..

"I want a good end to the season, there will be an opportunity for players to stake a claim to play, showcase what they can do.

"We’ve got a good enough squad to do that and if we finish as high as we can, I will be a happy manager at the end of the season.”

Lowe has a near fully-fit squad to select from, just Ryan Ledson and Tom Barkhuizen ruled out.

Greg Cunningham is back training after a calf injury which he sustained in February which is a boost for Lowe who has used a number of players at left wing-back.

"Greg has trained all week,” said Lowe.

"He joined back in on Monday and will be back in contention at Derby.”