Kevin Davies: Preston's play-off loss made squad stronger

Davies expecting open League One

Kevin Davies has said that Preston North End have used last season's League One play-off disappointment to strengthen them as a squad.

Preston lost 3-1 to Rotherham, who were promoted to the Championship, in the second leg of their semi-final.

The 37-year-old striker said the squad were looking to start positively in their bid for promotion.

"We're expecting it's going to be tough again and we have to be at our best," he told BBC North West Tonight.

"We feel we've strengthened as a squad and we're better for the experience [of missing out on promotion last season].

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"We want to hit the ground running, start really well, try and get into the top two and try and remain there.

"I think if we can get in that top two, with this squad, the manager and the fans and the backing we have, we can stay there."

Preston, who finished fifth last season, will face a number of their neighbours in League One, including newly-promoted Fleetwood.

"It always adds to the league when there are a lot of derby games. You look forward to those games," continued Davies, who has won one England cap.

"There are no easy games. We need to start really well and get that confidence and momentum building throughout the squad and the fans. We've certainly got the squad to do that."

Manager Simon Grayson has made several summer signings, including former Rangers striker Andy Little, which have made the squad more competitive.

Andy Little
Little was released by Rangers in May after scoring 30 goals for the club over two seasons

"When I look around the squad I've got now compared to a year ago, and no disrespect to those players, I've got a stronger squad," Grayson added.

"When you look at the division, there's no one stand-out candidate. I think this year there are a lot of teams that will think they've got a good opportunity [to be promoted].

"Overall I think it's going to be a tough division but obviously we want to be getting to the top of that pile."