De Laet targets successsful long shot

Ritchie de Laet takes on his former club Preston this weekend
Ritchie de Laet takes on his former club Preston this weekend
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Ritchie de Laet believes it is a ‘long shot’. But the Pompey defender still hasn’t given up reaching the play-offs.

And he believes victory over his former club Preston is essential.

The 22-year-old spent five weeks at Deepdale earlier this season, making five appearances.

His emergency loan spell was cut short by Sir Alex Ferguson when his son, Darren, was sacked.

Nowadays de Laet is at Fratton Park helping lift the club into the play-off hunt.

Those hopes may have been hampered by last week’s Reading defeat but de Laet is adamant the dream is not over.

He said: ‘It’s a long shot.

‘We needed to win that Reading match or get a point out of it but obviously we are still only six points away and with seven games to go everything is in the open.

‘We can bounce back. We have got two home games now which – if you look at the league – are winnable.

‘If you look at the league and the form guide, Preston are down there but have been doing really well recently.

‘But we are at home, it’s a hard place to come, while their match at Reading in the week would have got some miles into their legs.

‘We have to beat Preston and we have to beat Coventry next week.

‘We have to take control of those home games and we need the fans behind us from the first minute.

‘It hasn’t been easy this season but, obviously, we are fighting back and the season is not finished yet.’

Preston are currently eight points adrift of safety with seven games to go.

They themselves need a big effort to avoid relegation to League One.

But for Pompey, tomorrow represents a must-win game.