PNE midfielder’s Brownie points!

Alan Browne scores for PNE in their 2-2 draw against Birmingham last month
Alan Browne scores for PNE in their 2-2 draw against Birmingham last month
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Preston North End midfielder Alan Browne is delighted with the progress he has made in the Championship and aims to build on it next season.

The Irishman was a double winner at the player of the year awards at the weekend.

He was voted young player of the year and also collected the Preston Supporters’ Group’s young player gong.

Browne has played in 39 games this season, with 27 of those being starts.

That is a major improvement on last season when he sat out the majority of the second half of the campaign.

However, Browne did time his return to the squad well at the end of last term.

He appeared as a substitute in the play-off semi-final second leg against Chesterfield, then again at Wembley as a first-half sub.

Browne told the Evening Post: “It was fantastic to get the two young player awards and I’d like to say thank you to the fans.

“I think I have had a really good season, especially when you compare it to last year.

“I’ve managed to kick on, improve and develop, be a lot more consistent.

“Last season, consistency was my downfall and I have put that right.

“I think playing those two games at the end of last season was a major turning point.

“The physical aspect of my game has improved.

“When I wasn’t playing last season, I spent a lot of time in the gym trying to get myself stronger.

“This season I have coped with the physical side a lot better. My knowledge of the game has improved, and a lot of that is down to the boys around me constantly talking during games and giving me advice.

“I have taken on board what they have said.

“Playing a division higher in the Championship has helped my game.

“The league maybe suits me a lot more – it wouldn’t be right to say it is easier but it maybe suits different styles.

“I managed to find my feet quite early on in the season and have gone from there.”

The campaign comes to a conclusion on Saturday when North End face Leeds at Deepdale (12.30pm).

A decent-sized crowd is assured, with Leeds close to selling out their 5,600 allocation.

In the reverse fixture at Elland Road in December, a Browne own goal gave the Yorkshire side victory.

Browne, 21, said: “Hopefully we can finish off the season with a win and we can go up a place or two in the table.

“We owe Leeds one for earlier in the season.

“Last week, we got back on a winning track against Reading.

“We had gone five games without a win, one or two of which we had deserved to win.

“I thought we could have beaten Reading by more – with the chances we created in the first half, we should have been out of sight.

“It was disappointing to let in the equaliser but we showed character to hit back with the late winner.”