Chris Wilder expects a stern test, when his third-placed side travel to Deepdale on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the clash against the Lilywhites, Wilder remarked: "The season is about a fixture list and it's about what fixture comes up next.
"I didn't think we'd be in this position, I hoped we'd have a successful season, but nobody knows what is around the corner and there are so many factors to consider.
"But we are here and Preston is the next challenge, it's a tough place to go, they are tough opponents and we've had some tight games against them at this level."
Wilder added: "There are a lot of similarities between the clubs and Preston will recognise they've got to beat us if they want to stay in the hunt for the play-offs.
"But to get in the position they have, they will have had a positive approach all season, just like we have."