Can PNE Force Their Way into Automatic Contention?

After an emotional couple of weeks in Preston, the focus was back on the current crop of North End players as they took on fellow promotion hopefuls Walsall at Deepdale.

The game had an eventful first few minutes as Walsall defender Paul Downing managed to find the back of his own net to put PNE 1-0 up, only to be cancelled out by the Saddlers Sam Mantom a few minutes later.

The third and final goal of the game also came in the first half with a Bailey Wright header winning the game for the Lilywhites.

It’s that time of the season when every point counts more than ever, and North End really need to take maximum points at every opportunity if they’re in with any chance of automatic promotion.

The Lilywhites currently sit in fourth position, with Leyton Orient, Wolves, and Brentford being ahead of them.

A play-off spot is looking likely for the PNE, with a 17 point cushion between the Deepdale club and seventh place Swindon, but with two months still left of the season, it’s still all to play for at the top of League One.

PNE could have been flying even higher in the league and have more hopes of an automatic promotion place if they had took their opportunities to win games and see them out for three points rather than drawing the thirteen games that they have so far in this campaign.

An automatic place is almost out of reach for the Lilywhites, with this season’s high flyers Wolves and Brentford both having two games in hand, making it almost a certainty that the pair will go up in the automatic places this season.

Although an automatic promotion place would be much better in the minds of Preston fans considering the club’s play-off history, the North End faithful should still feel confident in their chances of gaining a place in the Championship next season.

Manager Simon Grayson is a wiz at getting teams out of this division, and with the squad he has and the feel good factor which has surrounded the club for the past 12 months, there is no reason why North End could not break their play-off hoodoo this year.


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