Ex-Preston favourite John Welsh believes old club can sustain play-off challenge

Former Preston North End skipper John Welsh  thinks his old team have what it takes to maintain a play-off push if the season gets going again.

Saturday, 16th May 2020, 6:00 am
John Welsh

Welsh holds the Lilywhites in high regard after making 176 appearances for them over six seasons.

It is two years since he left Deepdale but has closely followed their progress.

The 36-year-old midfielder is now waiting to see when the Championship might resume.

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Welsh told the Lancashire Post: “I class myself as a Preston fan, I’ve got so much respect for the club.

“It could end up being a really good season and it is a case of waiting to see when football returns.

“The Premier League and Championship look like they will carry on under strict guidance.

“In the long run, it might be that the break over the last couple of months will have done Preston good.

“Knowing Tom Little the fitness coach and his staff as I do, they will have the lads in top shape to play again.

“Hopefully they can kick on and do well in the last nine games to make the play-offs.

“I’m sure the manager and coaching staff will be leaving no stone unturned to make sure that happens.”

Welsh is also waiting for the opportunity to see his boyhood club Liverpool lift the Premier League title.

He started his career at Anfield, playing 10 games for the Reds.

“I’ve been through lots of emotions with Liverpool’s situation,” said Welsh.

“I want to see them win the league and I want to see everyone healthy and safe.

“There will come a time when they can lift the title but just at the moment our focus has to be on health.”

Welsh was playing for Atherton Collieries in the Northern Premier League when the season was halted.

The FA later cancelled the non-league season and Welsh is now waiting to see how and when it will start again.

Welsh joined Atherton last autumn, having had a spell training with Chorley – he played for the Magpies in a Lancashire Senior Cup tie against PNE in September.

“There was a point just before I went to Chorley when I was thinking of retiring from football,” said Welsh.

“Then I started to get the itch for it again and I went to train with Chorley.

“With not having done a pre-season, the manager at Chorley was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be ready to play in a Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday schedule they had quite often.

“He put me in touch with Michael Clegg who was the Atherton manager at the time and I got sorted out there.

“I really enjoyed playing for Atherton and hopefully I can get back to doing that again.”