Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

A week can be a long time in football, just ask Preston after they got their play-off push going again.

Sunday, 15th April 2018, 7:00 pm
Callum Robinson shields the ball from former North End loanee Alex Baptiste during PNE's 2-1 win over QPR

It was all doom and gloom last week after North End lost at Reading, their third defeat on the bounce.

But wins against Leeds and Queens Park Rangers have got everyone smiling again and the top six is back within reach.

There is work to be done if they are to catch up but to be still in with a shout after 43 matches is really exciting. In both games which they won, North End had to come from behind.

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While they clearly have the battling qualities to fight back, you can’t keep handing the lead to the opposition.

So I’m sure that will be something Alex Neil will be talking to the squad about and working on how they can tighten things up a little bit in the defence.

The goals in the last two games have been spread around the team which is no bad thing.

Sean Maguire got back on the goal trail against Leeds but then missed the QPR game because of injury.

So it was nice to see the goals still coming without him, with Callum Robinson and Alan Browne finding the back of the net.

In the play-off race, all that North End can do is to focus on themselves.

At some stage they could well need a favour elsewhere but that isn’t something they can control.

When you’ve done your job on the pitch, that is the time to get your phone out in the dressing room and see how the other results have gone.

They have to keep going, keep picking up points and if they are still in with a shout going into the final game, then anything can happen.

The concentration has to be on Norwich who they play on Saturday, not on Sheffield United the week after or on Burton the week after that.

It is a one game at a time mantra, tick that one off and go again.

I do like the character of North End in that they have bounced back from losing three on the bounce to win their last two.

Teams have been known to switch off at this stage of the season when results have gone against them – you don’t mean to do it but it has happened plenty of times.

Neil has got them back up for the challenge, instilled some belief back in them.

He will have drawn some encouragement from the fact that a lot of the teams around them in the table have to play one another.

It means points will be dropped by someone, 
opening the door to close the gap if PNE do their job.

I think that the fact the race for promotion and the play-offs is wide open sums up the Championship.

Wolves went up without kicking a ball on Saturday night when Brentford scored a late equaliser at Fulham.

Cardiff and Fulham have traded that second place over the last couple of weeks, while the last two play-off places are up for grabs.

Millwall have come from nowhere, North End are now back in the mix. It could get very exciting!