Exclusive Simon Makienok PNE column

'Celebrating my hat-trick at Bournemouth'

'Celebrating my hat-trick at Bournemouth'

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Much is made of my height and I’m one of the tallest players in the league – but it is not as if I have always been tall.

I was a normal height until I was about 15 and then I just grew a lot until I was 
17 or 18.

So you could describe me as being a later grower or a late developer.

My body developed and grew normally so I’ve not had any back problems or similar injuries which can sometimes be associated with growing quickly.

Neither my mum or dad were particularly tall, but my brother is a similar height to me.

Often I’m the tallest player on the pitch but that was not the case against Wigan a few weeks ago.

Their defender who marked me was a centimetre or two taller than me, so that was quite a battle.

I’ve settled in nicely with Preston and this is a good club to be at.

Scoring the hat-trick at Bournemouth last month was a big moment for me.

Until then, it had been a bit of struggle getting 
into the team, but I got my chance in that game and got through the whole 120 minutes.

I think I said at the time that it was my first hat-trick in senior football, although a few people in Denmark have since pointed out that I scored a couple of hat-tricks back there.

So it was my first 
hat-trick outside Denmark, which was still a good moment.

What was pleasing was that it was a right-foot, left-foot, header hat-trick.

My career started in the second division in Denmark and from there I got a move to Brondby, who are one of the two biggest teams there.

I was top scorer there one season and it was a good time for me.

After a couple of seasons there, I felt it was the right time to leave Denmark 
to go and play in another country.

I actually wanted to come to England then but the 
clubs here could not or would not pay the transfer fee 
which Brondby wanted for me.

In the end I went to Italy to sign for Palermo – they were prepared to meet Brondby’s asking price.

Things started off 
okay there but then things started to break down and there were changes at 
the club.

The guy who had brought me in, left the club and that was a big change.

Palermo had been promoted to Serie A and my competition was 
Paulo Dybala and Frano Vazquez who are now at Juventus and Seville respectively.

While I didn’t play much there, it was still a good experience to be in another country and challenge myself there.

Maybe I could have sat things out for a bit longer, stayed a few months more or another season.

But I wanted to play and had left Denmark to sample a different kind of 
football.

What I didn’t want to be doing was sitting around without being involved.

Last season, I went on loan to Charlton, so I know what English football is all about and in particular, what the Championship is all about.

The Championship is very competitive and the teams always seem well matched.

Whether a club has been relegated from the Premier League or promoted from League One, they are strong.

You need to have a strong squad to deal with the games and cover the injuries.

Our next four games are against the division’s current top four clubs – Brighton, Huddersfield, Norwich and Newcastle.

We have also got Newcastle in the cup just before we play them in the Championship.

But we don’t approach these games on league position – all the matches are equally tough.

Whether you play a side near the top or bottom of the table, you know you will have to work very hard to get something out of it.

Some of the teams will play good football but a lot of it is about winning your battles and getting on the front foot.

If you can get yourself on the front foot quickly, you give yourself a good chance.

Of course, the next run of games is an interesting one and there are some good stadiums to visit with big crowds to play in front of.

If we approach these games in the right way, work hard and do our jobs, we have a good chance of a decent points tally.

It has been remarked on that I have quite a number of tattoos.

They are pretty common among footballers these days, although I do seem to have more than most.

I got my first tattoo when I was 17 or 18, my brother and myself got ‘Makienok’ written.

Things took off from there and I’ve got them on various parts of the body.

I don’t really mind needles, it is not the greatest feeling having them done but I’m not afraid of needles.

I’ve perhaps got a few more than most people but that’s me.