sport

Davies using hurt as motivation

Kevin Davies and his Preston team-mates cut dejected figures on Thursday following their play-off semi-final 3-1 defeat to Rotherham.

Rotherham fans flocked past North End players to mob their heroes after they secured a 4-2 aggregate win over North End to book their place in the League One play-off final at Wembley on Sunday.

It was an image the Lilywhites squad has become accustomed to lately. At Brentford they were surrounded by delirious Bees fans after a 1-0 win provided confirmation of their top-two finish on Good Friday and, on the final day of the regular season, Crewe supporters spilled onto the pitch after their safety was sealed with a 2-0 win.

With the majority of Simon Grayson's squad, including Davies, under contract for next season, the veteran forward has urged Preston's players to use others' delight as a motivating factor.

"The club have worked hard to get everyone under contract," the 37-year-old said.

"We'll use this the best we can. We've had two or three pitch invasions and celebrations around us and it's not a nice feeling to watch other teams being successful.

"Everyone wants to play at the highest level. There's no doubt in my mind that it's going to hurt for a couple of weeks but we'll look forward to coming back in pre-season, working even harder and try not to experience this next season - we'll try to win the league."

Preston's own fans would certainly rather avoid the play-offs next season given they have never been promoted via that route in the nine occasions they have reached that stage.

Grayson spoke about using Leicester and Brentford, who both went up automatically this season following play-off disappointment 12 months ago, as examples for his men to follow.

Davies echoed those sentiments, adding: "We'll use them as an example and bounce back even stronger.

"We can't do anything about it now, it's done - the season's over. We only lost seven games and we drew a few too many, we can try and turn them into wins.

"We'll come back and show that desire in pre-season, try and get ourselves into the top two and try and stay there all season. That will be the aim of the group I think."