“Biggest One So Far” – Preston North End Boss Previews Crucial Fixture

With Preston North End recovering an unlikely push for play-off contention after a 4-1 decimation of Huddersfield Town on Tuesday evening, many will feel that their upcoming clash with Norwich City should be labelled as ‘season-defining’.

The Lilywhites currently occupy eighth place in the Championship, five points behind David Wagner’s high-flying Canaries, albeit with a game in hand. In order for Ryan Lowe’s side to even conceive the idea of pushing for sixth place, North End must dig deep to grab a victory tomorrow afternoon.

As for Norwich, a questionable draw against Sheffield Wednesday after they threw away a 2-0 lead, could either unsettle the away side or spur them on to take no chances of a repeat this time around. Worryingly for Preston, Wagner’s side have already accumulated 75 goals this term and look increasingly dangerous game by game.

It is looking increasingly likely that Canada international Liam Millar will be absent once again from this crucial fixture. The winger has been a bright spark for the Lilywhites in an underwhelming attack at times. However, the away side face questions of their star striker, Josh Sargent’s, fitness.

Lowe, who has been criticised by PNE fans for not attacking important games, has spoken to BBC Radio Lancashire ahead of the weekend battle and offered his thoughts of his side’s ambitions and game plan for the impending fixture.

“We’re going to give it everything because it’s a needs-must. Norwich are a fantastic team, well-coached with unbelievable players and have had a bit of a kick in the teeth by conceding late to draw. We have to make sure it’s about what we do on Saturday.

“It’s massively important, I’m not going to play it down, it might be the biggest one so far.”

Unsurprisingly, eyes will be on Montenegrin goal-getter Milutin Osmajic after his stunning seven-minute hat trick against the Terriers. The Liverpudlian boss sung the praises of his striker’s training and recent performances.

“Milly’s (Milutin Osmajic) been champing at the bit. He was fantastic on Saturday (against Watford)and we’ve asked him to stay behind a little bit more.

“It’s been tough for him at times because he came in, started well, scored a few goals and came in and out the team, but he trains like a true warrior every day to get into the team and perform to the levels.”

“I spoke to him and let him know he wasn’t in the team and he would have an impact coming off the bench, and he has certainly done that, so credit where credit is due.”

Writer’s view

With both sides looking likely to push for a strong end to the season, this match could either prove to offer some high defensive stability from all parties or be the subject of one team’s superior attacking prowess on the day.

A reasonable estimation could be that whoever wins this game stands the greater chance of becoming heavy favourites for sixth position, come the end of the season. It’s a must-win for Lowe’s side as anything but three points will most likely kill off any play-off chances that they have.


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