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First Team News

Gaffer Previews Key Norwich City Clash

12 April 2024

First Team News

Gaffer Previews Key Norwich City Clash

12 April 2024

Ryan Lowe feels the weekend’s match against Norwich City is “a great occasion and great opportunity” for Preston North End as the push for the top six continues.

The Canaries will arrive at Deepdale as the side who currently occupy the final Play-Off spot, and a win for North End would close that gap to two points, with four games remaining.

After the draw at Watford last weekend, the gaffer said maximum points were required this week, and the Lilywhites are halfway there following the 4-1 victory over Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night.

Ryan said: “There’s no denying it’s a huge game because if we were to get a positive result it would take us a lot closer to them with a game in hand, albeit the game in hand is against another tough team.

“For us [we need] to keep ourselves in the mix and be around it to try and win games of football to get in and around sixth spot, which is out of our hands as we sit here and speak in terms of other results and the points the other teams have got, but it’s one we’re just going to keep trying for.

“What a great occasion and a great opportunity to go toe to toe with a good team in Norwich City who are holding that sixth position and see what comes of it.

“The lads are champing at the bit. They’ve had a good week and got a fantastic result on Tuesday night which hopefully can lead us into Saturday and a good performance, a good result, and who knows then with four games to go.”

North End’s run-in is by no means easy, with five games coming up against sides either with aspirations of reaching the Premier League, or needing points at the other end of the table.

On the whole, PNE have done well against sides towards the top of the league at Deepdale, having beaten the likes of Ipswich Town, Leeds United and Coventry City on home turf.

Ryan said: “Everyone’s fighting for something and if you want to get in the top six you have to play these teams. You have to perform and you have to get results because it’s not just given to you.

“There’s no easy run-ins. If we were to win games of football and get close to that then of course you deserve it.

“I think anyone who can get in and around that top six and top ten will deserve it because it’s a tough league as everyone knows.

“For us to give ourselves a fighting chance of staying in the mix with five games to go is really pleasing.”

Skipper Alan Browne returned from injury during the week in what the manager called a ‘big boost’, and Ryan Ledson has also been back in training.

Ched Evans made the matchday squad, too, while Milutin Osmajić will no doubt be knocking on the door for a start following his hat-trick heroics against the Terriers.

Ryan said: “All the strikers have been excellent. Their attitude and application has been spot on and when a player comes on of that calibre and scores a hat-trick in eight minutes [it’s brilliant].

“But Emil [Riis] has been doing fantastically well. I know he’s looked a bit tired of late. Keano [Will Keane] is off the mark again on 13 goals, so for all the strikers to be on the goals they’re on is really pleasing.

“Whoever scores the most goals in training today can play,” he laughed. “Joking aside, we’ll look at it. We’ve got one or two things in mind. We’re coming up against a good team and whatever selection we pick will be for the best.”

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