After all the travelling of the last week or so, it is good that Preston North End’s next game for is just round the corner for me.
I’m a Rochdale lad and their Spotland ground is not far away from where I live.
Stephen Dawson and Brian Barry-Murphy who play there are good friends of mine and this game was the first I looked for when the fixture list was published in June.
We played them in August in the Capital One Cup and we know what they’re all about from then – they are high energy and are a good footballing side.
As a youngster I watched Rochdale regularly from the Sandy Lane terrace behind the goal, I’d go with my older brother and mates, sitting on the wall at the back or stand down at the front.
In the 1990s, Steve Whitehall was one of my heroes, and they’ve since had some very good players come through.
Adam Le Fondre, Rickie Lambert and Craig Dawson have all been through the system at Rochdale and gone on to play at a high level.
But while they might be the team I supported as a kid, I’m a Preston player now and all I want from Saturday’s game in three points.
Although we are playing every few days at the moment and having to travel some long distances, our preparation for the matches has been superb.
For the Leyton Orient game, we travelled by train on Tuesday morning to London.
Personally, train is the best way to travel. It is quick and comfortable and we were fortunate enough to have our own carriage so all the lads were together.
You could sit back and relax and also get up to stretch your legs if you needed to.
There is no hanging around before, no checking in, it is just a matter of getting yourself to the station for the right time.
We came back on the coach from Orient because obviously the trains don’t run that late.
But at least we had the three points with us which made the journey feel a bit quicker.
The M1 was blocked so we had to re-route on the M40 which added quite a bit to the journey time.
It was 4.30am when I got back home and the kids got me up at about 8.45am which is a bit of a lie-in for me!
What we don’t forget is that the fans made the same journey and will have had to get up for work after just a couple of hours sleep.
Such support is very much appreciated by the players and hopefully we can continue on our winning run.
While it was the train this week, it was the plane the Tuesday before for Gillingham.
I think one or two of the lads are still recovering from the experience of our plane being battered by the tail end of a hurricane!
I’m not a bad flyer but the flight on the way there was one of the more lively that I have experienced, especially the take off.
Of all the days which the high winds had to hit the country, it was the one which had us in the air going to Gillingham.
There were a few strange noises coming from people in the cabin.
I sat next to John Welsh who certainly didn’t enjoy himself and Joe Garner was gripping his seat tightly.
One of my wife’s friends flies with Emirates and she says the trick is to look at the air hostesses for the reaction on their faces during a bad flight.
If there is something wrong it will show on their face, but the air hostess on our plane was as calm as anything.
Saying all that, the flight each way was about 40 minutes which was far better than being sat on the coach for hours.
We have an owner who is willing to pay for flights and trains so that our preparation is as good as possible.
Going back to the Orient game, the fans will have seen me having a shot near the end which went over the bar.
I haven’t scored yet for Preston and it would be nice to get one or two at some stage.
My last goal was actually against Orient at Brisbane Road for Tranmere. I stuck one in the top corner from 30 yards and won Tranmere’s goal of the season award!
That was only the third or fourth goal of my career, so to score one like that was a bit special. I see goals as a bonus, because as a full-back my job first and foremost is to stop them going in at the other end.
That is something which I noticed Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have been highlighting this season.
Yes, you have to be able to get up and down the pitch and I can do that no problem
But since the World Cup, a lot of people have started to put the emphasis back on full-backs stopping crosses and defending properly.
If I can chip in with a goal or two, that would be great, but a clean sheet is a good job done.
Another from 30 yards would be very nice!