Preston North End can emerge from the pack of play-off chasers says Jayden Stockley

Jayden Stockley hopes it is Preston from the chasing pack who can put a run together and claim a play-off place.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites have not got themselves going since the restart, drawing at Luton and losing to Cardiff.

Saturday’s defeat cost them sixth place and the hard work to try and climb back into the play-off places starts against Derby County at Deepdale tomorrow (5pm).

That clash will be North End’s 5,000th league game, with them the first club to hit that particular milestone.

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Preston striker Jayden Stockley during the defeat to Cardiff at Deepdale

Striker Stockley said: “It is going to be a strange run-in with no fans in the ground.

“Whoever can build a bit of momentum and put a couple of wins together is going to give themselves a big advantage.

“For us, it is a case of trying to get our first win since we came back and then go on a run. If any team in that pack puts a run together they’ll move out of sight of the others.

“Hopefully that be us and we can find some form again.”

Stockley was back in PNE’s starting XI against Cardiff for the first time since January.

Since playing against Norwich City in the FA Cup in January, it had been bench duty for the 26-year-old.

Stockley had come on as a substitute in eight games in the meantime, so it was a boost for him to start.

It now remains to be seen whether he will start against Derby or if Alex Neil will go for another reshuffle of the North End frontline.

“I did enjoy being in from the start,” said Stockley.

“It was a battle against Sean Morrison who is a big strong lad and has been in the game a long time.

“He’s strong in the air and you have to pick your battles against him.

“I was pleased to play a part in our goal, contribute that, but obviously it was disappointing that we couldn’t go on to win from there.

“When we equalised I expected us to go on and get the three points.

“It was uncharacteristic of us to get back into the game and then to let it slip.

“We should have got a least a point and we were all very frustrated by that.”

Stockley’s inclusion from the start was in a bid to give PNE some physical power in the box, with Neil looking for him to hold the ball up too.

He came in at the expense of Sean Maguire who had started at Luton.

Said Neil: “I thought that we lacked presence in the box at Luton.

“We wanted Jayden in there to make the ball stick at the top end and go from there.

“In the first half we put a few crosses in which was good but we stopped doing that in the second half – that I found frustrating.

“We worked off him for the goal, Sean Maguire got into space from his flick on.”