Preston North End will have a say in the Championship play-off race when they host Middlesbrough

Preston North End will have a part in the Championship play-off race even though they are on course for a mid-table finish.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites play their final game of the season on Saturday lunchtime when they host Middlesbrough at Deepdale (12.30pm).

Boro are in with a chance of a top-six slot if they win, while PNE boss Ryan Lowe is looking for a strong finish from his side.

So it’s all to play for, Lowe wanting his players to embrace the occasion.

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Preston North End striker Cameron Archer in action at Barnsley

Lowe said: “We want to finish on a high and the way we played in the second half at Barnsley, creating loads of chances, is what I want.

"It was important to beat Barnsley, get back on the bike after a couple of losses. We got back on the bike and now we have a different challenge against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

"It’s our last home game, I want the kids and families walking around the pitch afterwards with the players and staff.

"I want that after winning, not have lost. That is the challenge for us.”

Preston North End goalkeeper Daniel Iversen joins in the Gentry Day spirit

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Boro will come to Lancashire with two play-off places potentially up for grabs.

They are seventh in the table, two points behind Sheffield United and Luton Town who are fifth and sixth respectively.

Luton suddenly look vulnerable after their 7-0 thrashing by Fulham on Monday, their goal difference taking a hammering which could be key.

The Hatters host Reading on the final day, with Sheffield United at home to Fulham.

Millwall, in eighth place, who are three points behind Luton and Sheffield United, go to Bournemouth.

The Middlesbrough game will be the last for PNE loanees Cameron Archer, Daniel Iversen and Sepp van den Berg before they go back to their parent clubs.

Then it will be a case over the summer of seeing if North End can bring any of them back.

Van den Berg and Iversen could be a tall order, with the pair having been on loan from Liverpool and Leicester respectively, for a season-and-a-half.

Archer is a player PNE would love to bring back after seven goals so far in the second-half of the season after a January arrival from Aston Villa.

Norwich have been linked with Archer in the media, with Middlesbrough reportedly keeping tabs on Iversen.