Former Preston North End forward Neil Mellor believes that competing for the play-offs next season will be a real challenge.
Speaking with OLBG, Mellor claimed that Ryan Lowe has done a great job since taking over the club earlier this season.
While he also believes that the club should always be aiming for a top six finish, he recognises the difficulty of the task at hand.
Mellor was part of the last Preston side that reached the play-offs and thinks that a strong dressing room atmosphere can go a long way to propelling a team towards the top echelon of the table.
The 39-year old believes that a top half finish for the side next season would constitute as a success and a job well done from Lowe and his team.
“There’s always the hope and that’s always the aim,” said Mellor.
“Preston have had seven seasons in the Championship now and got close to the playoffs once.
“It’s very difficult to get into those playoffs, I was part of the last group of players to get into the Championship playoffs with Preston.
“We had a very good team and a strong dressing room under Alan Irvine which was a big factor.
“I’ve been very impressed with what Ryan Lowe’s about, he’s got a connection with the supporters, but the Championship is such a difficult division which makes it hard to predict.
“For Preston, if they can finish in the top half and be in with a shout of the playoffs, then that would be a brilliant season, but it’s going to be a big challenge to achieve that.”
Quiz: What club do these 25 players from the Preston North End 2016/17 squad play for now?
Preston have earned their way to 15th place in the current Championship table, a big improvement over where the team was before Lowe arrived.
The team has progressed well since his appointment, but have still fallen eight points adrift of the play-off places, making it clear the work ahead to close that gap.
Up next for Preston is the visit of Blackburn Rovers on April 25.
The Championship is so fiercely competitive and volatile that maintaining form from one campaign to the other can be so difficult.
As long as the team remains grounded and keeps targets realistic then it can allow the group to grow together.
Lowe is building a solid foundation with this side, but time will be needed for a club like Preston to mount a true promotion challenge.
Mellor has set a much clearer aim of a top half of the table finish, which is achievable based on their performances in the second half of this campaign.