Welsh’s formula for PNE success

John Welsh caught the eye in a defensive midfield role against Aston Villa
John Welsh caught the eye in a defensive midfield role against Aston Villa
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John Welsh thinks Preston’s win against Aston Villa should be used as a ‘template’ when Championship action resumes after the international break.

The Lilywhites produced their best performance of the season in last weekend’s 2-0 victory, Welsh playing a key role in midfield.

It stretched the unbeaten run to four games, a sequence that will be put to the test when PNE play all of the current top four before the month is out.

But Welsh believes more displays along the lines of that produced against Villa, will stand them in good stead.

“The Aston Villa game can be a template to success,” Welsh told the Evening Post.

“Before the game in the dressing room, the gaffer reminded us that we had done well in front of big crowds last season.

“It was a great atmosphere inside the ground and the boys rose to the occasion.

“The fans got right behind us, backed us and we played really well.

“We put in a good shift, we had different types of players causing different problems for Aston Villa.

“Down the sides we had Aiden McGeady and Callum Robinson, both quick players, creating things and getting shots away.

“Jordan Hugill is a big, strong lad and took his chance well.

“It is that type of display which we have to try to replicate in the weeks ahead.”

Welsh was in a three-man central midfield with Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson.

Pearson shone in what was only his second league start of the season, scoring the first goal and playing a big part in the second.

Said Welsh: “We knew that we couldn’t give Villa that extra bit of space, we had to close them down.

“I played in a deeper role behind Ben and DJ, and you couldn’t have asked for more from them.

“Those two were the driving force of the team and we seemed to have a good balance in the midfield.

“I’m more of a defensive midfielder, the other two like to push forward.

“Ben was winning the ball really high up the pitch, which made my job easier.

“He thoroughly deserved his man of the match award – he was brilliant.

“What he did was to give a lot of energy to the team, along with DJ.

“His goal so early in the game put us on the front foot and we pushed on from that.”

Welsh and his team-mates were given a breather on Sunday and Monday, before resuming training on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old said: “It was nice to get the extra day off, the international break allows for a bit more recovery.

“We were back to work on Tuesday and that was a hard session because we were doing some fitness testing.

“We’ve got the weekend off and then next week will be the usual schedule building up to playing Brighton.

“The next few games look tough but we are all looking forward to it.”