PNE star eyes return

Paul Gallagher
Paul Gallagher
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Preston North End midfielder Paul Gallagher is battling to be fit to face his former club Blackburn this weekend.

The 32-year-old has missed the last two games with a calf injury, his creativity having been a big loss.

With PNE looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, they will be hoping Gallagher can give them a fitness lift.

Gallagher told the Evening Post: “I’m like any other player in that I don’t like being injured.

“Our physio Matt Jackson is working me hard, he doesn’t like you being in his treatment room for too long and wants to get me back training.

“I’ve been back outside doing a few runs, feeling better than I was.

“In the last two games I’ve been watching and listening, kicking every ball.

“I’m touch and go for the Blackburn game, I’ll keep working and see where I get to at the end of the week.”

Gallagher’s injury dates back to the latter stages of the 3-1 win at Rotherham.

He started the Wolves which followed the international break but limped off after an hour of it.

“I first felt it in the last few minutes at Rotherham and I didn’t train for most of the international break,” said Gallagher.

“On the Friday before the Wolves game I did some training and could still feel it a bit, although I felt okay to play.

“After 10 minutes against Wolves it started to get sore and it was stopping me doing some of the basics out there.

“Pushing off and twisting was difficult and in the second half I felt it ping so I came off.

“Playing with an injury is nothing new to me so that is why I tried to play on.

“Most of last season, I had the hernia and for part of the season before, I was having injections in my foot to get me through games.

“I’ve played a lot games in the three years I have been here and I want to play many more.”

Gallagher came through the youth system at Saturday’s opponents Rovers, making 26 first-team starts and 48 appearances from the bench.

Having been brought up in Blackburn, he is keen to be fit to face them.

“There will be a big crowd and some of my mates will be in their end,” said Gallagher.

“Last season, they won here and we beat them over there.

“Blackburn have done well lately, beating Newcastle and drawing with Huddersfield.

“We are looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat and get ourselves going on another good run.”

North End supporters who buy a match day ticket for the Blackburn game will get a level of priority for the FA Cup tie with Arsenal in January.

Season ticket holders, ambassadors and Premier members will get top priority, but fans buying for Saturday will get priority ahead of general sale.

A date for the Arsenal game has yet to be confirmed, with it a strong contender for live coverage on television.