Win or bust now says PNE skipper

Preston skipper Tom Clarke is heading back to former club Huddersfield on Good Friday
Preston skipper Tom Clarke is heading back to former club Huddersfield on Good Friday
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Captain Tom Clarke admits Preston North End need to win all of their remaining five games to stand any chance of reaching the play-offs.

The 3-0 defeat at Leeds on Saturday seems to have all but ended the Lilywhites’ chances of making the Championship’s top six.

Simon Grayson’s side are eight points adrift with five games to play ahead of the trip to third-in-the-table Huddersfield on Good Friday.

Ahead of the visit to his former club, the PNE skipper has conceded that only three points will do if North End are to prolong their season beyond the trip to Wolves on May 7.

“Definitely, we’ll be going into it with that mentality,” he said.

“We’re doing really well as a team, as a squad, to be in there and to still have a chance is brilliant. Hopefully we can put a few more good results together and get to where we want to be and that’s as high as possible.

“We still want to be talking about the play-offs for as long as we can.

“We’ve got to go into these next five games with confidence to hopefully get some good results.”

If Preston are to pick up three points at the at the John Smith’s Stadium then they need a turnaround in their away form.

The last victory on the road came at Burton Albion, a Clarke goal sealing a 1-0 win at the Pirelli Stadium back on January 2.

It is in stark contrast to the Lilywhites’ Deepdale run, Grayson’s side having lost just one of their last 13 on home soil.

The latest reverse on the road saw PNE ship three 
sloppy goals at Elland Road.

“If you look previously we’ve usually done well away from home,” said Clarke.

“We’ve had a solid unit and broken on teams.

“I think they just got their goals at good times on Saturday. They were ruthless in our box and we probably weren’t strong enough and didn’t take the chances that came our way.

“We were in a good position before the game and that’s what was frustrating.

“We went there with confidence and the pressure was on them.”

Leeds, and now Huddersfield, represent the start of a tough run-in that includes Norwich’s visit to Deepdale on Easter Monday and a trip to second-in-the-table 
Newcastle on April 24.

“We’ve got a tough run-in,” said Clarke. “We have got teams that are in there for the automatic places and the 
play-offs and we’re in there as well.

“We’re going to keep going and stay strong as a unit.

“We’ve had a really good season and are doing well to be where we are.”