Preston North End: John Welsh keeps beard for play-off final

John Welsh
John Welsh has not scored in his 43 appearances for Preston this season

Preston midfielder John Welsh will keep his beard for the League One play-off final against Swindon because of a superstition from last year.

The 31-year-old former Liverpool, Hull, and Tranmere man shaved off the beard before North End lost to Rotherham in last season's play-off semi-final.

"The beard will probably stay," he told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"The reason being I shaved it last year against Rotherham and obviously what happened, happened."

He continued: "It's bugging me now really, it's doing my head in at the minute but it's got to stay until we get promoted."

Preston's play-off problems...
2014: League One play-off semi-final - Rotherham (2-4)2009: Championship play-off semi-final - Sheffield Utd (1-2)
2006: Championship play-off semi-final - Leeds (1-3)2005: Championship play-off final - West Ham (0-1)
2001: First Division play-off final: Bolton (0-3)1999: Second Division play-off semi-final - Gillingham (1-2)
1995: Third Division play-off semi-final: Bury (0-2)1994: Third Division play-off final - Wycombe (2-4)
1989: Third Division play-off semi-final - Port Vale (2-4)

Welsh, who has been at Deepdale since 2012, was part of the Lilywhites team that beat Swindon 3-0 a month ago with striker Joe Garner scoring a hat-trick.

A final-day defeat at Colchester cost them an automatic promotion place."

"I think it's probably gone from the lowest I've been in my life after the Colchester game to being the highest I've ever been within a week," added Welsh.

"I think you've got to show a lot of credit to the lads in the character that they've shown to be so down.

"Coming back on the coach I don't think anyone spoke more than two words to each other.

John Welsh and Wes Thomas
A beardless Welsh captained Preston in their 4-2 play-off semi-final loss to Rotherham last year

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