Adam Reach thinks Preston North End have ‘clicked’ recently but must now take advantage of two home games to prove that they are fully on the right path.
The Lilywhites have a derby clash with Bolton this weekend before hosting Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
A healthy return from the two meetings at Deepdale would add nicely to the five points they have gained from the last three games.
In particular, it is the last two results on the road which stand out – the victory at Charlton and a draw against league leaders Brighton.
Before that was a goalless draw with Cardiff at home, that not the greatest of afternoons but a point all the same.
Reach, who is on a 93-day loan from Middlesbrough, played in all three of those matches.
In fact, the winger’s five games in a Preston shirt have seen him on the losing side just once.
“We’ve been having a good spell and I think that things have finally clicked,” said Reach.
“Previous to that we had been playing quite well but not getting the rub of the green or we were being punished when we made silly mistakes.
“These last three games, we have picked up a few points, kept clean sheets and hopefully, that can continue.
“If you keep doing the right things and working hard, then sooner or later it will start happening for you.
“What we’ve not got to do now is become complacent and get ahead of ourselves in any sense.
“We’ve got an important derby game with Bolton, a game we can win if we play well.
“It is an exciting one for the fans with it being a local derby, while it being in front the Sky cameras gives it a bit more of an edge.
“We have got back-to-back home games, with Nottingham Forest coming here in the week.
“It is very important that we get at least four points from them, if not all six.
“Our home form has to be better and if we could get six points, it would move us a decent way up the table which is something we would all like.
“If we can do that, it would represent a decent run of form and would show people that we are finding our feet in this division.
“We have shown in the last two away games what we can be about.
“We scored three goals against Charlton and then had chances to score at Brighton.
“Away from home, perhaps you get a few gaps to exploit when the home side comes at you.
“It will probably a bit different against Bolton, they might sit in a bit more, be a little bit tighter.
“The onus is on us to go and attack them and it would great if we could get an early goal.
“You saw what happened when we scored early at Charlton, it gave us the confidence to go on and win the game very well.”
It is more than a month ago that Reach swapped being on the fringes of Middlesbrough’s squad to drop down the Championship table and fight North End’s cause.
Although he had started the season in Boro’s side, chances had started to dry up as the campaign moved into September.
The loan switch suited him, this a chance to try and play regularly in the PNE side until Christmas when his 93-day stay ends.
Reach’s debut was the 1-1 draw with Wolves, something of a baptism of fire as North End finished with nine men.
He has operated on both the left-wing and right-wing, with him playing as a left wing-back in the Charlton and Brighton matches.
The wing-back role brings with it defensive responsibilities, although it is in forward gear when he tends to catch the eye.
Said Reach: “I like playing as a wing-back, it’s not a problem.
“It is a busy role but it doesn’t mean you will see me attack any less.
“In that role you can attack just as much as when you are a winger, it is just that you tend to get on the ball in a different part of the pitch, slightly deeper.
“It is then up to me to get up the pitch and try and work something from there.
“I have really enjoyed it here so far, the lads are a good group who help new lads settle in well.
“We are tight-knit and that can be of great benefit.
“When we went down to nine men against Wolves on my debut, you saw how everyone stuck together and fought for the team.
“We very nearly held out and it is that kind of spirit which will help us in this division.
“The confidence among the squad didn’t really drop when results weren’t going our way.
“It is a good place to come and play, the coaching staff are always bright and bubbly.
“Things like that helped me settle in.”
Reach was delighted to see his parent club hit the headlines on Wednesday night by knocking Manchester United out of the Capital One Cup on penalties.
“It was a brilliant result for Middlesbrough and they are going well,” said the 23-year-old.
“They have dropped a few points in the league recently but beating Manchester United in the cup will have done them a world of good.
“ They took 10,000 supporters to Old Trafford, their support is always excellent.
“I didn’t get to the game but I followed it and saw the penalty shoot-out. I’m delighted for the lads there.”