Gallagher looks to the positives

Paul Gallagher clashes with Sheffield Wednesday keeper Keiren Westwood
Paul Gallagher clashes with Sheffield Wednesday keeper Keiren Westwood
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Paul Gallagher says PNE can take great encouragement from their performance against the Owls despite being denied three points at the death.

Former PNE loanee Adam Reach popped up in the 94th minute to hammer home a leveller with the visitors’ first shot on target.

Simon Grayson’s men had gone in front 13 minutes from time, Sam Hutchinson deflecting Greg Cunningham’s cross into his own net after North End had controlled large parts of the game.

“It feels like a defeat really,” said Gallagher.

“We dominated the game and it tells you something when the opposition manager is saying we deserved to win.

“That’s football, you’ve got to play to the last minute.

“You can’t fault the effort from the players. I think we played really well with the ball and without it.

“We knew it was going to be difficult because they’re a good team but we made them look very average.

“We probably had more chances to win the game and I think our keeper Chris Maxwell didn’t really have much to do.

“We managed the game really well and deserved a lot more than just a point.

“I think the fans went home proud of their football team.

“Every player out there played for the shirt. You could see the desire and the hunger to win a game of football”

It was a sore sight for many seeing Reach equalise, the 
ex-Middlesbrough man having been a popular figure at Deepdale before his £5m move to the Owls.

“I said to him, ‘You had plenty of those last year and kept missing them’,” Gallagher said.

“Everyone was putting their body on the line it was like a slow motion goal.

“It just dropped to him and to be fair he hit it really well.”

It was a good day on a personal note for Gallagher, the experienced midfielder returning to action, having limped off with a calf problem against Wolves on November 19.

“I’m just happy to be back playing,” said the 32-year-old.

“I think you could tell, I was running around like a madman. I was starting to feel it at the end but I felt good.

“I’ve done some hard work with the physio and it was nice to be out there.”

Whether he stays in the team to face Burton on Monday remains to be seen, playing just 48 hours after his return from a six-week lay-off potentially a big ask.

“The manager knows I’ll play every day of the week,” said Gallagher.

“He said to me, ‘You probably wanted to play in the Leeds game on Boxing Day’, but I’d only trained one day. That’s the way I am. I don’t like missing games and he knows that.

“Sometimes you’ve got to be sensible with injuries, I don’t know what his team is, I’m sure there will be a few changes but I’ll prepare like I’m going to play.”

Outsiders in their first season in the Championship, Burton are battling away in 20th position, with PNE expecting a tough test on their first trip to the Pirelli Stadium.

“It’s a tight ground and a small ground but they’re doing well and we have to give them the respect they deserve,” Gallagher said.

“At home they do pick up points but we are a good team on the road and that performance should give us plenty of encouragement.”