Paul Gallagher feels so at home at Preston that he almost forgets he is on loan from Leicester.
It is approaching 12 months since the creative attacker moved to Deepdale from the Foxes.
He joined on Halloween for the remainder of last season and extended that stay during the summer for the whole of the 2014/15 campaign.
After been completely out of the picture at Leicester, the switch to Deepdale – and being much closer to the family home – has greatly suited him.
He has played 47 games, with No.48 coming against Port Vale this weekend (3pm).
Gallagher told the Evening Post: “It feels like I am here permanently.
“Leicester is my parent club but I have been here for what seems like a long time.
“I feel like a Preston player, not just someone who is on loan, and I’m really enjoying it here.
“After the play-off defeat in May I told the manager that I wanted to come back.
“Other clubs came in during the summer but I wasn’t interested in that – I gave the manager my word that I would come back.
“What people didn’t know is that I had to give a bit of money back to Leicester in order to come here.
“I could have gone elsewhere and not had to sacrifice that money but Preston was where I wanted to be this season.”
By his own admission, Gallagher did not exactly set the place alight in the first part of this season.
However, in recent weeks he thinks that his form has considerably improved – getting on the scoresheet in the last two games some proof of that upturn.
Said Gallagher: “I was getting frustrated that I had not scored and was not creating chances for others.
“But in the last few games I have managed to score a couple of goals and set a few up.
“It is my job to score and provide goals and now we are getting goals from all over the pitch.
“When things weren’t going too well, I had a chat with the manager to tell him I was disappointed with myself and the way that I was playing.
“I’ve started to play better although it is not all about me, it is about the team picking up three points. It has been nice to be back on the scoresheet. The one against Port Vale the other week was nice because it was so close in – I don’t normally score in the box unless it’s a penalty.
“Mind you, I nearly missed it because it was so close! Chris Humphrey did well and I thought he was going to cross it earlier than he did.
“He went on and beat his man before firing it across and I had to slide in to get it because a defender was coming across me.
“I am always being encouraged by the manager to have a shot because we have Joe Garner to follow up if they don’t go in.
“I’ve got two for the season which isn’t great and I would like to think that I will get quite a few more as the season goes on.
“I got 10 for Preston last season – seven in the league and three in the FA Cup.
“During my career I’ve tended to get 10 league goals a season but I would like to try and get towards 15 this time.
“If I did that, if Joe Garner keeps scoring and a few others keep chipping in, then we should be right up there.
“My improvement in form has been down to me getting involved in the game more.
“If you are a creative player and aren’t involved then you are not doing your job.
“Maybe earlier in the season we were playing a bit longer and weren’t getting on the ball as much.
“We have started passing a lot more, getting people into different pockets of the pitch.
“Making the extra pass is helping us get into areas to hurt the opposition a lot more.
“We’ve got players like Neil Kilkenny, who passes the ball well to find others and bring them into the play.
“I feel that I’m getting on the ball a lot more. At the moment our confidence is sky-high after the four wins on the bounce.
“We started the season with a couple of draws and one or two wins, then there were the results against Walsall and Chesterfield.
“Since then we have done very well – we have managed the games a lot better, seen them out.
“Game management is very important in this league. If you get 2-0 up you don’t want the opposition to keep coming back at you with attack after attack.
“What you want is to keep the ball, pass it around a bit, and sometimes that means going sideways or backwards.
“If the other team haven’t got the ball they cannot score against you. That is the thinking that we have to have.”
The league meeting with Vale, which is the Valiants’ second visit to Deepdale in less than a fortnight, marks a return to action for Preston after the enforced international break.
It is also the start of an intense spell which could see them playing nine games in 29 days.
Said Gallagher: “With the form we’ve been in, we would have liked to have played last week.
“We have done some hard work in training during the break because the games now start coming thick and fast and we have to be ready for that.”
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