Exclusive Chris Maxwell PNE column

In action for Preston against Leeds striker Chris Wood at Elland Road last week
In action for Preston against Leeds striker Chris Wood at Elland Road last week
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During our game at Elland Road last week, I took plenty of stick from the Leeds fans in the second half.

I got caught by a challenge from Chris Wood who was booked and it went from there – he was substituted just after that and the booing started from there.

To be honest, I didn’t mind the booing and songs, I saw the funny side of it.

That is not the worst I’ve had.

Try being a 17-year-old playing for Connah’s Quay in a local derby against Rhyl on a Friday night wearing an 
all-pink goalkeeper’s kit!

It was at a ground where the fans walk around the ground at half-time so they can be at the end where their team is attacking.

So I had the Rhyl fans in my ear all night and when you only have a few hundred in the ground, you can 
hear every word shouted 
at you.

That was what I called taking stick, at least at Leeds I was wearing all black – not pink –and you cannot hear individuals in a 30,000 crowd.

It is the way things go and I’m sort of person who enjoys the attention being on me so it didn’t faze me.

I see it as fun and games and wouldn’t change it for the world.

We are now going into the Easter programme, which is always a big period for any club in a season.

Two games in four days at this stage of the campaign can really shape things.

In Huddersfield Town and then Norwich City, we are against two teams who, like us, are still competing for things.

Of course, the 3-0 defeat at Leeds dealt us a big blow in terms of the play-offs.

Afterwards the dressing room was very subdued both because of the result and the manner of defeat.

The defeat, coming off the back of such a great win over Bristol City, was also a kick in the teeth.

But the way we see it is that we are still mathematically in with a shout of the play-offs.

We just have to make sure we give ourselves the best chance we can, starting with the visit to Huddersfield.

After that, we will turn our attention to Monday when Norwich come here to Deepdale.

Our aim is to win both matches – we go into every game trying to win it.

The minute you stop working hard and believing is a recipe for disaster.

We will do things right in the build-up for both to give ourselves the best possible chance.

I’m sure our supporters are looking forward to the Huddersfield game.

There will be a lot of them making the trip and hopefully we can give them plenty to cheer about.

This season is flying by and, looking back, I’ve loved every minute of it.

It is a bit of a cliché of mine but ever since I was five-years-old and kicking a ball around in the back garden, I wanted to be a footballer.

At the age of 26, I’m lucky that I am a professional footballer and loving it.

Joining Preston was a great move and to push on in the way I have, has been fantastic.

Signing a new contract during the season was a real bonus and I enjoy coming into training every day.

I would like to think that I’ve improved as a goalkeeper in my time here. If you ask different people, they will tell you that I have improved.

I have learned a hell of a lot from Alan Kelly, both on and off the field.

I’m a very lucky player to be in his company day in, day out, learning from him.

He has brought me on loads, pushing me all the time to do better.

I’m in a good place at the moment and as time goes on, you learn about the ins and outs of being a goalkeeper. One minute you are the hero, the next the villain, that is the nature of the job.

Finally, it is great to see my former club Fleetwood Town pushing for promotion from League One.

I had plenty of good times there, getting promotion at Wembley and it is good to see them in play-off contention this year.

When I signed for them, their chairman Andy Pilley described Fleetwood as a ‘train on their way to the Championship’.

He said that some of the players would get off at certain stops to go elsewhere and others would get on.

Their ambition has always been to get to the Championship, even when they had just been promoted to League Two.

They are not far away from realising that ambition and best of luck to them.