PNE in Numbers: How Paul Gallagher reached 500 professional games

Preston North End's Paul Gallagher in action on his 500th Football League appearance.
Preston North End's Paul Gallagher in action on his 500th Football League appearance.
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Saturday’s draw against Barnsley was more than just a return from injury for Paul Gallagher.

Having been out with concussion picked up at Derby, injuries to Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson meant the 33-year-old came straight back into the middle of the midfield for the first game after the internationals.

The 70 minutes he managed to get through, as he battles to get more match sharpness, had some significance though.

It was Gallagher’s 500th senior appearance in what has been a varied Football League career.

Having come through the ranks across Lancashire at Blackburn Rovers, his senior debut came as an 18-year-old back in March 2003.

In those days he was a striker, PNE fans increasingly used to seeing the veteran as a midfield player with a wide range of passing.

His seven years at Rovers only actually yielded 26 starts, 49 substitute appearances and eight goals.

Gallagher had several loan spells away from Ewood Park before leaving for Leicester City in 2009.

One of those came at Deepdale, while there were other temporary stays at Stoke City, twice, and Plymouth Argyle.

Six permanent years at Leicester then saw Gallagher make 99 starts, 38 appearances from the bench and score 28 goals.

Again though there were spells out on loan, first with Sheffield United and then twice more with Preston, a place that was increasingly feeling like home.

It means Gallagher holds the English record for most appearances made on loan to one club with his 115 for North End across three separate stints.

He finally became a permanent fixture in the summer of 2015 and since then has 81 appearances, 73 of them starts, and scored six goals.

In total, Gallagher has made 195 appearances and scored 30 goals for the Lilywhites, his latest action coming off the bench against Cardiff on Tuesday night.

Another 33-year-old, John Welsh, could be the next Preston player to reach a major milestone.

Having returned so impressively from injury this week, first coming off the bench against Barnsley before playing all of the win over Cardiff, an appearance at Birmingham would make it 400 in senior football for the former Liverpool youngster.

One person certain to tick something off is Chris Maxwell who will play his 50th game for PNE, having arrived from Fleetwood in the summer of 2016.

With thanks to Martin Atherton for the stats.