Former Town star Tom Clarke says Preston are confident in their ability to be a competitive Championship side as they prepare to host his former club.

David Wagner takes Town to Deepdale on Saturday looking to close a four-point gap on the Lancashire side after their 0-0 draw at Derby on Tuesday night.

Preston are three places above Town and centre-back Clarke – a member of Town’s promotion winning side at Wembley in 2012 – reckons Simon Grayson has got the Lilywhites in good order.

“We are working hard off the pitch and we’ve got a lot of experience in there as well as youth, and we are new to the league but we feel like we’ve adapted really well,” he said.

“We are training hard and going into each game now confident that in ourselves and our ability.”

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Clarke made his return to the Preston starting line-up at Derby after injury.

He continued: “It’s been frustrating for me personally, obviously I got the injury in the Ipswich warm up but it’s nice to be back in the team and to come away with a clean sheet (at Derby).

“I thought as a team we defended really well but we also had that threat going forward.

“Anders Lindegaard came and collected when he needed to and we tried to stay solid and keep together and he didn’t really have too much to do in the end.

“We did have that threat as well, we’ve got a lot of creative players up there and we’ve created a lot of chances.

“But we were also that solid unit at the back and it’s about getting that balance right in this league and hopefully we can do that next week as well.”

Preston, who have taken points off each of the top six sides in the division, were beaten 3-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium on Boxing Day , when Nahki Wells bagged a double and Emyr Huws was also on the scoresheet before Adam Reach pulled one back in the final minute.