Captain Alan Browne said he and his team-mates had ‘completed their objective’ by mathematically securing their Championship status for next term, but insisted they will strive to continue climbing the table until the end of the season.
The skipper’s second half penalty secured the three points at St Andrew’s, against Coventry City taking the Lilywhites up to 14th in the standings and ensuring they cannot be leapfrogged by any of the three sides currently occupying the relegation places.
Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, the Irishman said that finishing in the top half of the table would represent a good end to the season, given their position six games ago.
“I think it’s more than just staying in the league, I think that’s us up to 14th now and we can potentially finish in the top half of the table, which given where we were, would be a great end to the season,” the midfielder said.
“From our point of view, it’s job done since Frankie took over, that was our objective, and as sad as it is, it was to stay in the league and anything on top of that is a positive and a bonus.
“When you’re looking at it from that point of view, just staying in the league, it is a bit embarrassing, you don’t want to be in that situation, we definitely shouldn’t find ourselves in that situation. It is what it is and we’ve got a good result today. The performance probably wasn’t what would have been expected from us but we’ve got the job done and we can finish the season well now.
“The objective was to stay in the league because realistically we don’t belong in League One, no disrespect, but I think we’re a lot better than that.
“We’ve got some really good quality in the team that should be competing at the top end of this table. We’ll try to finish as strongly as possible, for ourselves, for Frankie, obviously it might do him some favours, and for the fans as well.”
North End’s No.8 revealed he was keen to step up to penalty duties having not taken one in competitive action since missing one on international duty last year.
“I’ve seen the last couple of games, the line-up, and thought, ‘If we get one, I’m just going to take it.’ I missed one away with Ireland and I haven’t, apart from Cardiff, had the opportunity to take one since so I thought I just needed to get it out of the way. I was really confident, I took a few in training, and I put it away well.”
The 26-year-old also spoke of how he feels interim head coach Frankie McAvoy has impacted the side since taking charge at the start of the month; overseeing three wins, two draws and one defeat from six games thus far.
“He’s put me in the same position for a couple of games, so it’s good for me!” Browney continued.
“I don’t think he’s too different to Alex Neil, I think it just got to a stage where we weren’t getting the rub of the green. When Frankie took over, we obviously scored two last-minute goals, which I think if the gaffer was here now, it was just going that way where we didn’t have that sort of luck.
“When it’s against you, especially in this league, it’s fine margins, that’s the difference. I think we’ve had a touch of luck with him, but he’s kind of brightened us up a bit, put a bit of confidence in a few players and just refreshed the team I suppose. He’s got similar ideas to what we had previously but wants to implement his own style as well.”
The skipper stressed how important continuing to build momentum could prove in the final two outings of the season, as the Lilywhites look to take that through into next season.
“I think it’s really important, momentum’s huge in this league, any team will find that. For us, we’ve completed our objective now, we’re staying in the league and it’s about finishing as strongly as you can to take into next season, because that’s where we’ve got to look now.
“This season isn’t done, but from where we are, we can’t gain or lose anything from it apart from performances and results going into next year.”
Watch more from Browney by clicking on the video above.