Ben Whiteman braced for busy month in Championship for Preston

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Ben Whiteman says it’s important for Preston to put together a string of good results ahead of the World Cup break.

Whiteman has been a key figure so far this season for North End and has featured in all 14 of their league matches.

Over the course of the next month, North End have seven league fixtures before the campaign breaks for a month.

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PNE are currently in eighth spot and the former Doncaster Rovers star is eager to see the team remain in the play-off shake-up.

Preston North End's Ben WhitemanPreston North End's Ben Whiteman
Preston North End's Ben Whiteman

They are two points behind the top six after a record of four wins, three defeats and seven draws.

Conceding a late winner at Bristol City on Wednesday was a blow for Whiteman and his team-mates especially after they had won their previous two against West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City.

However, the midfielder believes North End will not dwell on the loss to the Robins for long.

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“It’s a massive period,” said Whiteman. “Obviously, there’s a lot of games coming up.

“You want to go into the international break in a good position and the fixtures do come thick and fast and it’s mainly about recovery and focusing on the next game more than getting out on the training pitch.

“We need to pick up some positive results and go into the international break in a positive frame of mind.

“It is a relentless pace, I don’t think I’ve experienced as many games in a short period of time but like I said you’ve got to do things properly, recover properly and focus on the next game.”

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Whiteman, playing in midfield has played a crucial part in the Lilywhite’s defensive record this season.

After beating Coventry City at the end of August, North End became only the third English side ever to start a campaign with seven consecutive clean sheets – now nine in total.

“I don’t think anyone experienced the results that we went on at the start of the season,” he said.

“It was an unbelievable achievement, clean sheets are massive if you want to win any football matches.

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“That’s the basics, you want to try and get a clean sheet first, we need to get back to that. The other night, it was a set play and the second phase of a set play, so we need to get back on track and I’m sure we’ll do that.”

Whiteman is up against former manager Alex Neil’s Stoke City side tomorrow.

Neil signed the 26-year-old for Preston in January 2021 before he was sacked in March later that year.

The midfielder has an impressive record against the Potters – scoring a superb free-kick the last time the two sides met at Deepdale, as well as assisting in the reverse fixture at the Bet365 Stadium.

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“If I can score a goal I’ll be over the moon,” he said. “I’ve come quite close recently so hopefully I can get on target and put one in the back of the net.

“You pass people in football. I wasn’t with Alex long but he brought me to the football club which I’m thankful to him for so I’m sure we’ll say hello and get on with the game really.”

Stoke beat league leaders Sheffield United last Saturday and took a point off promotion hopefuls Burnley the match before.

And after taking four points off North End last season, they’ll be coming into the tie full of confidence.

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“It’s about bouncing back (from the loss against Bristol),” said Whiteman.

“It’s the same when you win, you want to go and win the next one as well so we’re focusing on winning the game tomorrow, doing our analysis on them and seeing what we can do to beat them.

“The Championship is tight, anyone can beat anyone, especially this year.

“I think it’s probably the closest it’s been.

“Obviously, it’s tight, but you need to be on the right side of that and hopefully we can do that today.”