Scott Wiseman is back from his international travels and ready to help put Preston North End back on the winning track.
The Lilywhites have suffered three league defeats on the spin and face League One leaders Bristol City next.
Wiseman was hundreds of miles away in Germany when PNE suffered the third of those defeats at the hands of Bradford last Saturday.
He had played for Gibraltar the night before in Nuremberg, the minnows of Gib keeping the scoreline down against the World Cup winners to a respectable 4-0.
“I was at Berlin Airport when Preston were playing Bradford,” said Wiseman.
“Funnily enough there was a Bradford fan stood in front of me in the queue for the check-in.
“I couldn’t get a signal on my phone but he could and he had a mate in the away end at Deepdale.
“His mate texted through updates from the ground and I was reading them over his shoulder – he was happy for me to do that by the way!
“He knew who I was. There were six or seven of us in the queue wearing Gibraltar tracksuits and we had got chatting about the Germany match.
“I gave him a smug laugh when Joe Garner scored in the 85th minute but then 50 seconds later he was laughing at me.
“The defeat was quite hard to take, frustrating that I wasn’t there to try and help out.
“This was the first Preston game I had missed because of an international, in the past the Preston fixture has been postponed.
“When you look back at our three defeats, we played an in-form Rochdale side and then an in-form Swindon side.
“They were tough games and I have spoken to the lads since I returned about what happened against Bradford.
“What you have to remember is that these defeats came off the back of eight wins on the spin, which is a run you cannot turn your nose up at.
“The run was going to come to an end at some point and now it is all about getting back on track.
“In our dressing room there is a determination to put things right – like any sportsmen when you get knocked down you aim to get straight back up.
“This is a good group of lads who are always looking to win and improve. It doesn’t happen in every match but we will get back to winning.
“At the moment we are third in the table and still in a strong position.
“Before the season, if we’d been offered third place in late November, we would have snapped your hand off.
“We are not worried or panicking in any way – there are no panic buttons being pressed in our squad.”
It has been an interesting last 11 days or so for Wiseman, with games against Havant and Waterlooville and then Germany, as well as plenty of travelling in between. The right-back said: “It has been a busy time, starting with a good win at Havant.
“We flew there, then afterwards I was in a car to Birmingham to catch a flight out to Germany.
“I flew with the Gibraltar manager, he had been on a coaching course at St George’s Park.
“When we landed in Berlin we had six minutes to get across the airport to catch the connecting flight to Nuremberg.
“So there was the sight of the Gibraltar coach and myself sprinting across the terminal –actually it was me carrying him!
“After the game there was the same travel – Nuremberg to Berlin and then back to England.”
In between was the 4-0 defeat to the Germans, a decent outcome for the smallest UEFA nation when you consider Poland and the Republic of Ireland both hit them for seven.
Playing Germany will live in Wiseman’s memory for many years to come.
He said: “I played in the middle of a back three. We had Thomas Muller up against us, Lukas Podolski and Toni Kroos, while Sami Khedira was pushing forward from midfield.
“There are a few names there which you might recognise!
“Our game plan was to defend, simple as that – not push forward much and stay in a shape.
“We did that well for the majority of the game. The first goal was unlucky, it came from a shanked cross which hit the post and landed at Muller’s feet.
“That was a bit upsetting but for the other three goals we did not embarrass ourselves.
“We know that it is going to be difficult to win games. At the moment it is all about getting experience and passing that on to the younger lads for them to use in the next four, six, eight years.
“I want to be part of Gibraltar getting international experience and passing that on.
“Another reason is that I want to improve myself as a player – I’m not there to swap shirts with the big stars.
“To improve I need to be playing against some of the best players in the world and fortunately I have got that chance now.
“I have played against players like Muller and Podoloski for Germany and Poland’s Robert Lewandowski.
“All my focus is now on Preston. There are no more internationals until the end of March when we play Scotland at Hampden Park.
“Hopefully we can soon be back on a winning run.”