Best is yet to come, says PNE star Gally

Paul Gallagher
Paul Gallagher
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Paul Gallagher thinks that being with Preston North End from the word go this season will help get the very best out of him.

The 29-year-old is with PNE on a season’s long-loan from Premier League newcomers Leicester City.

He had a seven-month loan spell from the Foxes last term which produced 10 goals in 32 starts.

But that stay only started a few months into the campaign and left Gallagher with some catching-up to do.

While he had to be patient in terms of the loan deal being sorted out, it got done in time for him to kick-off pre-season training with his team-mates.

And meeting that deadline was a big relief for the former Blackburn attacker.

“My main focus was getting it all done before pre-season training started,” Gallagher told the Evening Post.

“I spoke to the manager at the end of last season and he warned me that I might have to be patient.

“But it all worked out which was a relief because I wanted to hit the ground running and not be behind everyone else.

“When I came in last season it was two or three months down the line and I hadn’t played competitively during that time.

“Now, I’ve started from the first day back and it feels great to be training with the lads.

“If I can score a few more goals and bring a more assists to the team right from the start of the season instead of part way through it, then that would be great.

“I enjoyed it here last season but it was disappointing how things ended in the play-offs.

“The aim this season is to bounce back from that and take a big step forward.

“There is a good set of lads here, a good staff and the fans are always good.”

Although there was interest from elsewhere in Gallagher, the choice in his own mind was a simple one.

“It was Preston or nowhere and I told Leicester that,” said Gallagher.

“My agent was telling me about offers from other clubs but the only one I wanted to join was Preston.

“I made that clear, if I didn’t come to Preston then I would stay at Leicester.

“I’m grateful that Leicester let me come here and grateful to Preston for the opportunity.

“A week last Monday I went back to Leicester for a day of fitness tests with the rest of the squad. I did the tests and then we had a chat about getting the deal done to come here.

“It was nice driving in here for training on the first day because none of the lads knew I was coming back.”

While it has been double sessions all the way since PNE reported back last week, Gallagher is enjoying the workload.

He said: “It has been quite tough but at the same time enjoyable. There is no getting away from pre-season training, it has to be done.

“It gives you the base fitness levels and strength which you need for the full season.

“The staff had us working with the football on the first day which gives you something to look forward to alongside the running and fitness work.

“When I was a young pro at Blackburn you didn’t see a football for a week or two, but things have changed.”