Preston North End winger Daryl Horgan has admitted that earning a play-off spot is the team’s aim going into the final eight games of the Championship season.
Simon Grayson’s side face Nottingham Forest at Deepdale this afternoon and can close the five-point gap separating them from the top six with a victory and a set of favourable results from elsewhere.
But while the 24-year-old winger acknowledged that the club are in a great position considering the teams around them and their finances, he said that would not affect their ambitions heading into this final stretch of the campaign.
“We’re probably one of the smaller clubs financially in the division,” the Irishman conceded.
“To be up in and around [the play-offs] is brilliant, but we don’t want to say ‘it’s great, we’re a small club, we’ve nearly got there and everyone’s happy’ – you want to get there.
“You can talk about it afterwards, but getting there is the aim and that’s what everyone will be striving for. We’ve eight games to go and are five points outside, so if we keep our head down, push on and play like we have, there’s no doubt we can get there.”
Horgan also explained that the pressure from within the camp was the only one that mattered at this stage of the season.
He added: “The most important pressure is what’s coming from yourself and your teammates wanting to get there.
“We are the outsiders but at the same time we’ve 11 players on the pitch, 22 in the squad and it’s a very good squad in there.
“There’s no reason why we can’t but we need a few teams to slip up and that’s the nature of the Championship, it’s hectic. In a sense it is in our own hands and if we can perform as well as we possibly can, we can definitely be in the play-offs.”
Horgan, as well as long-time teammate and compatriot Andy Boyle, made his international debut for the Republic of Ireland earlier this week.
After the pair swapped Dundalk for Deepdale in January, they both came on for the final half-hour of the Boys in Green’s 1-0 home defeat against Iceland on Tuesday.
Horgan was understandably delighted to have had the opportunity to impress at international level with his North End colleague.
He said: “It seems to be a bit of a double act. I’m absolutely delighted for him as well because he’s worked very hard.
“I wish I’d had a bit longer [on the pitch]! Ninety minutes wouldn’t have been long enough either. It was brilliant for myself, my family and friends and everyone who came up for a special night.
Everyone wants to play for their country and getting the opportunity to do so is something you can only dream of.”
But after winning the Irish title with Dundalk and playing in the Europa League with them, and then earning a move to the Lilywhites just a few months ago, that maiden international cap was just one of many big moments in what are still the early days of Horgan’s career.
However, he now has more targets in his sight with his new club.
“It’s been an unbelievable 18 months,” he concluded. “To be honest it’s been a whirlwind few years, it’s been incredible and long may it continue.
“It would be very nice to cap that off with a play-off place and then maybe we can win the play-offs.”