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First Team News

Gaffer Treating Hull Test As ‘Just Another Game’

29 February 2024

First Team News

Gaffer Treating Hull Test As ‘Just Another Game’

29 February 2024

Manager Ryan Lowe says he’ll be preparing his side for “just another game” as North End take on Hull City this weekend.

The visiting Tigers currently occupy the final Play-Off spot with PNE just three points behind, so the outcome of the match could have a say on the top six picture.

Liam Rosenior’s side came out on top in the reverse fixture back in October, while the Lilywhites head back to Deepdale following a 13-point haul in February.

Ryan said: “It’s an important game, of course, because you’re playing a team who are above you and you want to try and catch them with points, but it is just another game in that sense.

“We’ll go about it in that it’s just another game. Yeah it is Hull who are doing well and in that position, but we’ve got to worry about what we do. If we start worrying about the teams above us then it can catch you out and we’re not going to do that.

“We’ll pay Hull respect as we always do to teams we’re playing, but it’s about what we do. If we’re at it like we have been lately, scoring goals, and on the front foot then it’s a good opportunity for us to get three points.”

In recent weeks, PNE have been setting themselves internal point targets for blocks of fixtures, and the last one saw the side exceed their planned tally.

The latest group of fixtures got off to a flyer last Friday as North End won 3-0 in Coventry after a superb display, and there’s now four games to go before the international break in March.

“They’re all tough,” said the gaffer, about the upcoming matches. “We’ve got a tally of points we want to try and get to like we did last time. We started off with three away at Coventry so the quicker we can get more the better.

“We’re coming up against a Hull team who are in good form and scoring goals, and they’ve got some fantastic players, and then we move on to Southampton and then Stoke.

“We’ve got the week schedule, we know what it looks like, but first and foremost we’ve got to do what we need to do at home at Deepdale against Hull, then we’ll crack on with the next ones.

“As I said, it’s just the next game. We’ll take one game at a time and go from there, because there’ll soon be two or three left and you’ll say, ‘Where’s that come from?’ so we want to make sure we give ourselves the best possible chance of staying in the mix.”

North End have benefited in recent weeks from the return to the team and return to form of striker Emil Riis.

The Dane, who made his first appearance for almost a full year at the end of December, has netted four goals in his last four, and appears to have formed a strong partnership up top with Will Keane.

Ryan added: “What I will say about Emil is his character and his resilience from when he got injured for 12 months, to get back every day in that gym.

“Mike Pollitt said to him every day, ‘You’re a day closer,’ and now you see him. He’s in form.

“Credit where credit’s due to the medical staff and the fitness staff for getting him bigger, stronger, and making sure his knee’s right, and credit to Emil for doing all the hard work behind the scenes.

“It doesn’t go unnoticed with us. Some people just think, ‘Oh, he’s back fit,’ but if you had a video camera on him daily knowing what he did, he was first in and last out, some tough days on his own in the gym. These are the things you have to go through when you get these injuries.

“Having him back now, playing the way he’s playing, performing and scoring goals is really pleasing.”

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