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First Team News

Clarke Wants Continued Progression At PNE

7 February 2017

Preston North End captain Tom Clarke believes the club can continue improving after making great strides in recent years.

The defender, who signed from Huddersfield Town in May 2013, was reflecting on the Lilywhites’ successes after making his 150th league outing in Saturday’s goalless draw against Barnsley, while also looking ahead to Simon Grayson’s upcoming fourth anniversary as manager later this month.
“It’s something I’m pleased with,” the 29-year-old said of reaching the appearance landmark. “I remember when I first signed and said I would try and play as many games as I can and be in contention to be and stay fit. Thankfully I’ve done that, and hopefully I can play many more.
“I knew when I first came that the club had the potential to be higher. Everything was there, the stadium was good, the fans were there and we had the staff. I was just pleased that I could come here, the progression has been really good and hopefully we can keep progressing.
“The gaffer has been here a while and set his stall out with the players he’s brought in and the staff. We’ve progressed every season and we’ll be looking to do that again. I’m just pleased for the fans that we can be in this good league and be going well like we are, and hopefully we can carry on.”
Although pleased with the club’s achievements in the last couple of seasons, Clarke’s immediate focus is on turning around the team’s recent form as they prepare to welcome Brentford and Birmingham City to Deepdale in the next week.
PNE haven’t won in their last four matches but still have just four losses to their name in their last 22 Championship games.
Clarke added: “The results haven’t gone for us in certain games where we thought we should have got something, but it’s a tough league and getting points in this league is difficult.
“They are two difficult games, against two teams that are in and around us both vying for those points. So it’s going to be difficult, but again we’re confident. Both teams are in and around us so we can potentially pull away from them.
“We’re at home where we can beat anyone and we’ll be working hard for the game.
"We’ve been on a good run for a while now and we want to keep that going.
“Obviously we want to avenge that on Saturday with a good result against Brentford in front of the home fans. We know they’re a good side, but we’re working hard on the training pitch and hopefully we get that win to start a bit of a run towards the end of the season.”
And with 16 Championship games still to play, the North End skipper refused to rule anything out before the end of the campaign.
He said: “If you go on a decent run, you go up the league. Teams are taking points off everyone and you never know what could happen, with a couple of wins back to back you move up that table.”

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