Ex-PNE man has foot in both camps

Matt Hill played for PNE and Bristol City who meet on Saturday
Matt Hill played for PNE and Bristol City who meet on Saturday
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FORMER Preston and Bristol City left-back Matt Hill makes no apology for sitting on the fence as the two sides prepare for Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash.

Hill had happy times with both clubs earlier in a career which is currently on hold after he suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury in September.

It was with home-town club City where his route into football started.

North End signed him for £100,000 in January 2005 and while he left Deepdale more than six years ago, Hill still lives in the city.

Looking ahead to Ashton Gate clash, which pitches first against third, Hill told the Evening Post: “I can see it being a feisty game.

“Both teams will be aiming to bounce back from disappointing results last week.

“Bristol City being at home will want to prove their credentials of being the best team in the division.

“Preston are no mugs either and were on a great run of wins before this little dip which they find themselves on.

“This is the sort of game which both sets of players should have no problem motivating themselves for.

“I’m going to sit firmly on the fence and go for a 2-2 draw.

“What Preston will be keen to do is stop this habit of falling behind in the first half.

“It has happened two or three times recently and it is hard to keep recovering from.

“Playing catch-up is tough. Sometimes you manage to recover from conceding first but doing it again and again is a lot to ask.”

Hill looks back on his time at both North End and City with much pleasure.

As a schoolboy, he joined the red half of Bristol and went on to make more than 200 appearances for them.

Said Hill: “I signed for City when I was 10 or 11 and came through their youth system.

“My first-team debut was as a 17-year-old and I progressed from there. They won the LDV Vans Trophy when I was there and got to a play-off final.

“My move to Preston was a bit out of the blue. I was doing quite well and there was talk of going to Queens Park Rangers with Ian Holloway.

“Then I got a phone call from Billy Davies asking me to come here.

“It all happened at 100mph, I came up for a look around, I signed and they paraded me on the pitch at the next game.

“I won player of the year at Preston in a team which had talented players like David Nugent and Sean St Ledger.

“Every time I have been back to Deepdale, I have got a fantastic reception.”

In August, Hill signed for Tranmere after being without a club since Sheffield United released him in May.

But in his eighth game for them he snapped his Achilles tendon, an injury which will sideline him until March.

Said Hill: “It just happened – it wasn’t an injury which had gradually come on.

“I was on the ball and it just felt like someone had booted me from behind.

“When I was on the floor I turned to the referee appealing for a foul and he had to tell me there was no one near me.

“One of the most annoying things is not being able to drive. I’m relying on my wife and friends to get me about.”