Preston North End’s Josh Harrop is staying positive ahead of Sheffield Wednesday trip

Preston North End head to the city which stages the World Snooker Championships on Wednesday night.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 4:54 pm

And they will want to make the return journey 
not needing snookers to have any chance of making the 
play-offs.

Alex Neil’s men face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough and recent results have already put them in a tough position with regards to the top six.

Not collecting three points against the Owls will surely leave them out of the running unless they get big favours elsewhere.

Preston midfielder Josh Harrop tackles Derby’s Wayne Rooney

North End midfielder Josh Harrop, restored to the side at Huddersfield last Saturday, really hopes PNE can find some late-season form to keep their interest in the play-off race going.

Harrop said: “All is not lost yet but we know we have a lot of work to do.

“We know we could have had a far better restart than we’ve had but there are still enough games left to pick up a lot of points.

“In this league anything can happen and we all have to stay on the same boat looking for the same thing.

“Why we haven’t got the results we want, I don’t know.

“At the start of a season it often takes you a few games to get yourself going properly and maybe that has been the case since the break we’ve had.

“Different teams react in different ways. If we had taken some of the chances which came our way, things would have been a lot different.

“We need to go on a run now and as a team we tend to get results in streaks.

“There will be runs of games where we pick up a lot of points and do really well.

“Then we will have a dip in results and I just don’t know why that is the case.

“Sometimes we have spells where we are on top of the world, then there are games when we are not.

“It is a case of trying to flatten that, stop being so up and down.

“In games we need to be a bit more match-smart – if a game isn’t going our way we need to slow it down or change the way we are playing. At this stage of the season it is all about results, not so much about performances.

“We would all be much happier at the moment with a 1-0 win and not playing the best football.

“Once you get a couple of results you can start adding a good performance into it.”

This season is mirroring the last campaign in that PNE’s form has deserted them on the final straight.

In 2018/19, they only picked up four points from the last eight games.

No wins in seven matches this time is seeing Neil’s men go down a similar path.

The visit to Hillsborough is followed by Saturday’s home clash with Nottingham Forest.

Next midweek they head to Brentford, before hosting Birmingham at Deepdale.

Then the regular season finishes with a visit to Bristol City in a fortnight’s time. 
“We definitely don’t want the season to fizzle out,” said Harrop.

“Anyone involved with Preston wants to be pushing for the most. We want to try and win, we want to get promoted.

“The players in the dressing room are trying to get results, we are trying our best. But in the last few games we haven’t got the results we wanted.

“We don’t want the last few games to mean nothing.”

Harrop’s focus is on the visit to South Yorkshire, rather than trying to work out what might be needed to make the top six. In all likelihood, it would need an almost-perfect record to challenge, together with slip-ups by others.

“With us at the moment it is about taking every game as it comes,” said Harrop.

“You do everything you can to get three points and then move on to the next one.

“If you win and move up the table, you then look at the next game and see where that can take you.

“Clearly we have found playing without fans in the ground difficult.

“You don’t have any kind of atmosphere and that does affect the games.

“It is the same for every team though, and it’s up to us to deal with that.

“We’ve got Sheffield Wednesday next which will be a tough game. We will go there ready for it and we have to bring back three points.

“We are a positive squad, everyone in the group is staying positive.

“Don’t get me wrong, we are not happy about the way results have gone lately.

“We know that we need to be better, create more chances and take those chances when they come along.

“This season we have shown what we can do, we have won matches and scored goals.

“We need to get back to that.”