Gallagher hopes October-fest continues

Celebrations after Paul Gallagher found the net at Deepdale on Wednesday

Celebrations after Paul Gallagher found the net at Deepdale on Wednesday

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Paul Gallagher is pretty fond of the month of October.

The Preston midfielder continued his habit of popping up with goals at this time of year with the third in North End’s impressive 3-1 win over Huddersfield on Wednesday night.

Coming on the back of two earlier assists for Alex Baptiste and Tom Clarke against the Terriers, it was the latest in a long line of October goals.

Last season there were two in the 3-0 win at Charlton, while 12 months earlier Gallagher notched in three straight games against first Colchester and then Port Vale, who PNE faced in league and cup in consecutive games.

The run stretches back even further with the 32-year-old eyeing more success in front of goal as Preston head to promotion hopefuls Norwich on Saturday.

“I have this funny thing where I always score in October,” he said.

“At Leicester I think I got my first two goals in October and carried on from there.

“I was saying to my old man the other day that I’d probably score this month.

“I’m delighted to get a goal but the most important thing was to get three points which shot us up the division.

“We’re about halfway now and now we need to keep looking up instead of looking behind us.”

Wednesday night was an evening where Gallagher’s crossing quality came to the fore, two fine centres laying on goals for Clarke and Baptiste before a third delivery into the danger area evaded everyone and crept in at the back post.

“I’ve always been known as someone with good quality crossing a ball,” he said.

“I’ve started practicing more recently. Sometimes you can leave it because you know you’ve got it in the locker but I’ve been working on it, going out wide and putting crosses in.

“I enjoy playing on the wing with the number of assists I make and goals I can chip in with as well.”

The midfield stalwart, who recently signed a contract extension as he approach three years as both a loanee and a permanent member of the squad, was also keen to pay tribute to those on the end of his inviting balls into the box.

“We’ve got players in there that will go and attack the ball,” said Gallagher, who has been involved in the last four PNE goals.

“Baptiste, Clarke, Jordan Hugill, Bailey Wright, they all want to get on the end of things.

“I think Joe Garner might want to take me to Rangers with him because I don’t think he gets any crosses at the minute!

“It’s great when you get players who go and attack it because you can fire it in with pace and it might go in off a defender and asks questions.

“If you can put quality balls in it causes trouble.”

The fine display came on Gallagher’s return to the side, his spot back to in starting XI having been far from guaranteed after he picked up a dead-leg against Wigan at the end of September. I’ve been itching to get back in,” he said.

“We’ve got a good squad. Even people who aren’t making the bench like Liam Grimshaw, he’s been fantastic in training and behind-closed-doors games and things like that. Everyone’s itching to play but the manager’s got a hard job because he can only pick so many players.

“We’re a tight-knit group and everyone sticks together. Even those that aren’t playing will gee you on. There’s no sulking and no bad eggs.

“That’s one good thing at this football club, we’re all pushing in the same direction.”

That togetherness has helped North End to six games unbeaten in all competitions as Simon Grayson’s men enter the third in a run of four matches against the top four in the division.

“We’ve probably gone back to basics, being hard to play against,” Gallagher said.

“Last season we were very difficult to play against and we’ve brought that into the last few performances.

“There are some big clubs in this division and we’ve beaten them and got some good points.

“People aren’t giving us a chance. I heard a lot of people talking about Huddersfield going back to the top of the division if they beat Preston. No one was giving us a chance but we believe in ourselves and each other, all the players and the staff.

“To go on these runs in the Championship is a great achievement because it’s such a demanding division.

“We’ve proved a lot of people wrong and that’s football – you can beat anyone on the day.”

That is the mind-set that PNE take to Carrow Road as they look to upset another one of the Championship’s big boys.

“Norwich have had a good start to the season with the nucleus of the squad that came down from the Premier League,” Gallagher said. “They’ve got experienced players in there that have won the Championship before and gained promotion.

“But if we can’t go there full of confidence after this run of games, then you’re in the wrong sport.

“We go there with respect for them but we go there to do a good job and come away with a positive result.”