PNE midfielder Welsh up for fight

John Welsh
John Welsh
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John Welsh will draw on an experience from earlier in his career to try and help Preston North End pull away from the lower reaches of the Championship.

In 2005, Welsh joined a Hull side new to the division who went on to stay up after a difficult start.

The midfielder is strong in his belief that PNE have what it takes to overcome their early-season struggles and push up the table.

Welsh told the Evening Post: “When I first went to Hull from Liverpool, it was their first season in the Championship.

“It was a similar scenario in that it took them time to get going and put good results on the board.

“At Hull, we rolled up our sleeves, dug in and they moved up the table.

“That is what we will do here, we have a good squad of players and a belief within the dressing room.

“We have a great spirit, a good bunch of lads, great fans backing us every week.

“As a team we have to keep improving, this is a new league to us and we will give it our all in order to push on.

“You think about the old cliché that when you are down there, things go against you.

“We had that in a way when Paddy McCarthy was injured at Sheffield Wednesday.

“But there is a lot of belief that we will improve, this is a time when your big players come to the fore.

“We have the break at the moment which just might have come at the right time.

“It is the fine line between getting some rest into people and working on the training ground to get things right.”

Second-bottom North End are in a group of six clubs on single figures of points.

Above that, Charlton and Huddersfield are both on 10 points – PNE within a win of catching them up.

So it has not been a case of them going into the break marooned in the bottom three.

Reflecting on the campaign so far, Welsh said: “I think it has been a similar story in most of our games.

“Generally we have done well in all the games.

“We have given our all, created chances but ended up losing too many matches for our liking.

“That is something we have to learn from, look at where games are going away from us.

“Maybe at certain points of a game we have to learn how to manage it a bit better.

“As a squad of players, we will work hard to get better and adapt to the division.”

Some of the Preston squad got a run-out in a practice game against Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday, Eoin Doyle scoring a hat-trick and Andy Little getting the other in a 4-0 victory.

Paul Gallagher played as part of his build-up to full fitness after a month out with a calf muscle injury.

Jordan Hugill, Neil Kilkenny and Josh Heaton were among others to feature.

North End return to league action a week on Saturday when they host eighth-place Cardiff City at Deepdale.