Exclusive Greg Cunningham PNE column

Preston North End's Greg Cunningham (left) heads just wide against QPR last weekend
Preston North End's Greg Cunningham (left) heads just wide against QPR last weekend
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The victory over Queens Park Rangers last week was that bit more special for me as I was playing against my next-door neighbour from back home in Galway.

As kids, QPR midfielder Ryan Manning and myself used to play football in the back garden together.

In 10 years we have both gone from a kickabout in the garden to the Championship, so it was a proud moment at Deepdale last Saturday.

I must admit that it was a bit of a surreal moment when the teams were in the tunnel before the game and there was Ryan in the other line in his QPR kit.

I came out of it with the bragging rights thanks to our win and that was nice.

It is good to see lads from the west coast of Ireland making their way over here.

Ryan is doing great at QPR and I wish him every success.

He joined them a couple of years back and when he signed, I was messaging him to make sure he was settling in okay in London.

This season he has really kicked on, forced his way into their first team and is doing very well under Ian Holloway.

Ryan is a good technical player and physically is built well.

He is a few years younger than me, having started at Mervue and then signing for Galway United.

At Galway, he was playing in the same league that 
Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle were for Dundalk.

When we were kids, we had a little pitch in the back garden and whenever it was dry, we were out there.

Last week, the families were over from Galway and it was a proud afternoon.

It was a good win for us and we got there in the end after falling behind.

The game really opened up in the second half and I thought we showed what we are all about.

In the second half I played at right-back, which was a first for me.

I’ve always said that where the gaffer wants me to play – left-back, left wing-back, left-side centre-back, right-back – I will give it my best shot.

It did take me a little bit of time to adjust to right-back but I had Tom Clarke looking after me, checking that my positioning was correct.

The way I saw it, I was playing my position but just on the other side of the 
pitch.

My job was the same, to keep the winger on that side quiet and then to get forward when I got the chance.

In the game I actually got a couple of chances to score, both from left wing-back in the first half and then at right-back in the second.

I had the header which their keeper pushed over the bar, then the shot from Paul Huntington’s lay-off which just curled a few inches 
wide.

Like any player, I would like to score a few more goals and increase the number of assists – I’ve scored once this season which needed the dubious goals panel to rule on but they all count.

First and foremost, I am a defender and my focus is to help keep the ball out of our net and to stop the other team’s attacking players.

This weekend we head to Fulham and our supporters will be celebrating Gentry Day at Craven Cottage.

Our followings for away days have always been fantastic but there is something extra special about Gentry Day.

It is unique to this club and is really special to be part of.

We want to make sure we put on a good show for the fans who make the journey down there – it will be a fine sight with them all in their bowler hats.

The support we get away doesn’t go unnoticed, I can assure you of that.

We really love it when the fans show up in their big numbers away from home and we want to do the best for them. Last year on Gentry Day we won at Bolton and hopefully we can come back from London with three points.

We are in good form at the moment and after a slow start to the season, to have only lost four league games in 26 shows how far we have come.

With no midweek game, we have worked hard on 
the training pitch this 
week to get ready for a busy spell.

After Fulham, we have Derby away on Tuesday 
night and then it is back home to Deepdale to play Reading.

These are three games which will really test us and if we can come out with a good points tally, it would really see us kick on.

Fulham are just above us in the table and they will be tough opponents.

Earlier in the season they beat us at Deepdale and we want to put that right.