Preston North End defender admits they have unfinished business ahead of Lancashire Derby with Blackpool

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Preston North End defender Greg Cunningham admits his side have unfinished business when it comes to this weekend’s derby against Blackpool.

PNE were beaten in this fixture last season, 2-0, and the Irishman is keen fo the Lilywhites to put things right. Frankie McAvoy’s men put in a poor display as they were defeated in the first derby between the two sides in eight years, 11 in the league.

Cunningham does not want his teammates to get carried away however, as an experienced member of the North End squad he knows all about derbies and the effects they can have on players’ temperaments.

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The 31-year-old is into his fourth year, and second spell, at Deepdale and knows exactly what a win over the Seasiders would mean for all involved, even if this time it is under a new manager with different players involved.

Preston North End's Greg Cunningham celebrates scoring the opening goal at Huddersfield.Preston North End's Greg Cunningham celebrates scoring the opening goal at Huddersfield.
Preston North End's Greg Cunningham celebrates scoring the opening goal at Huddersfield.

He said: “The fixture itself is self explanatory, it is the derby and we want to make sure that we put in a performance that justifies that and we send our fans home happy.

“Derby games are unpredictable because players understand how much it means to the fans and how much it means to the club. You have to be emotional, we're human beings at the end of the day, but you have to control that.

"You have to still have a level head going into the game and be understanding of the game plan. Sometimes players can get carried away in those types of fixtures and that's why they're different to others.

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"When we get there it's fire in the belly and ice in the head. The last game at Bloomfield Road is behind us, it's a different time now, different players, but the objective is obviously still the same.

"You could say we have unfinished business there with the result last time and it's important we rock up and put in that performance.”

Cunningham was a standout performer in North End’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Tuesday, netting the winning goal from a second half corner.

He was delighted to get on the scoresheet and is reaping the rewards for hard work put in over pre-season in rehabilitating his body and conditioning it to overcome his previous injuries.

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“It's hard to describe the feeling when I scored, when they're few and far between it's a great feeling. There's that defensive aspect where a clean sheet is for me and the defensive, nitty gritty stuff is where I get that pleasure, but I don't think there is a better feeling than bagging a goal.

"It was nice that I could contribute on that front. I've always said that this club means the world to me. I'm so happy to be involved and to be contributing as much as I can.

"Wherever the gaffer wants me to play I'll do the best that I can for the club. All the hard work has paid off, I've scored a goal but everyone's performance was top notch.

“I've played a lot of games so far this season which I'm pleased about. I've been working on different aspects of my game and it's nice that it's all come together in a 1-0 victory. I just have to keep fit, keep happy and keep enjoying my football, which I am.”