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Clarke: Crawley Win Just What We Needed

29 March 2014

Sealing back to back home wins with victory over Crawley Town was exactly what the doctor ordered, according to Preston North End defender Tom Clarke.

Joe Garner scored a first half header to ensure the Lilywhites secured three points against the Red Devils on the back of their 3-1 triumph over Peterborough United in midweek. 

And Clarke, who returned to the starting line up following injury, is glad North End have been able to reproduce their away form at Deepdale recently.

“It’s something that we needed to happen [consecutive home wins],” the defender told PNE.Com after the Crawley game.

“We wanted our home form better than it was, we’ve done well away from home so we wanted to bring that to our own pitch.”

Clarke took to the field alongside Keith Keane, Jack King and David Buchanan against Crawley as North End boss Simon Grayson opted for a relatively untested combination at the back.

But the 26-year-old defender claims he was not fazed by the changes because of the quality the Lilywhites have in their ranks.

“There’s good squad players here and when called upon they do well,” Clarke said.

“Again today, a clean sheet which we were happy with, it’s just a shame we couldn’t get just a few more goals.”

Garner moved onto 23 goals for the season with his winner and Clarke paid tribute to the striker, insisting the former Nottingham Forest man is reaping the rewards of his tireless work rate.

“He’s an all out player, he’s good in the air, he’s quick and he’s getting the rewards of the goals now,” Clarke said.

“Earlier on the wasn’t getting them but his work rate is unbelievable and he’s getting the rewards now with the goals and playing well.”

The win over Crawley saw Preston maintain their 18 point lead over eighth placed Swindon Town in Sky Bet League One with just six games still to play

Meanwhile, John Gregory’s Red Devils sit 16th, on 46 points, with four games in hand, meaning the Lilywhites can secure a Play-Off berth with a victory at Bristol City.

“It would be nice to get mathematically in the Play-Offs,” Clarke said.

“But again we’re still striving for that top two and that's still achievable and that’s what we will do until told otherwise.”

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