Exclusive Alan Browne PNE column

You could say that there is an Irish takeover here at Preston North End after the gaffer's latest piece of business in the transfer market.

Thursday, 15th December 2016, 6:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 9:18 am
There is a large Irish contingent at PNE

Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle joined from Dundalk this week and it will be great to start working with them next week.

They join Eoin Doyle, Greg Cunningham and myself, and also Aiden McGeady who has won a lot of international caps for the Republic of Ireland.

Horgan and Boyle have done really well for Dundalk and it is great for them to get their chance here.

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I know Horgan from Cork City, he was there just before I left to come to Preston.

He is a quality player, very exciting and I’m sure he will do well here.

Boyle I’ve seen play a few times and he will bring more competition for places in the defence.

I was at the Irish Cup final when Dundalk lost to my old club Cork – both lads played in that game and did well.

There is a lot of quality back home in the League of Ireland and for some players, it is just a case of being given a chance in England.

Dundalk did very well in the Europa League and that was probably the break that these two lads needed to show what they could do.

They played very well in the games against some good sides in Europe and that will have helped them get the move to Preston.

It is next month that their moves become official but no doubt they will be over for a few training sessions over the Christmas period to get to know us all and allow us to get to know them.

On the playing front, it felt great to start our 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest this week.

It was my first 90 minutes for quite a while and that was very important to me.

I had the suspension after my red card at Newcastle and then in the game at Sheffield Wednesday, I was taken off at half-time.

I enjoyed the Forest game and had a few chances to score.

The gaffer gave me quite an attacking role in midfield and that helped create space for Daniel Johnson to play in.

We created a lot of chances in the first half and probably should have been two or three goals ahead by half-time.

I had a shot which their keeper tipped against the bar, and he also saved one with his legs from me by the post.

To be honest, you could say that the tale of the game was the two keepers.

Chris Maxwell made some great saves in the second half and he was so unlucky that their equaliser went down as an own goal against him.

He could do nothing about the shot coming back off the post and hitting him on the feet, it was just one of those things.

Had we got ourselves more goals in the first half when we were on top, that own goal would not have mattered.

In the second half, we knew that Forest would have a spell when they controlled it.

Probably what didn’t do our cause in the second half any good was the injury to Ben Pearson.

Ben having to go off killed our momentum a little bit and we struggled without him.

We had reshape things a bit in midfield, which was not ideal after how well we had done in the first half.

Saying that, towards the end of the game we still managed to create some good chances.

Jordan Hugill put a header wide and then the keeper made another save from myself – he blocked the follow-up from Simon Makienok.

On the balance of the play, you would probably say that a draw was deserved.

But the way we had played in the first half, perhaps it was an opportunity missed to get the three points.

We stayed in the Midlands after the Forest game and will head south on Friday for the Bristol City game.

It is nice to have a few days together as a squad and it has also reduced the travelling.

Rather than go back to Preston on Wednesday night and then travel to Bristol, it will just be a trip from here.

Hopefully we can follow up the Forest draw with a win at Bristol City.

It will be a tough game, they have some very good players in their squad and started the season well.

Our former team-mate Josh Brownhill will be in the City squad, having made the move there in the summer.

Josh was a good pal of mine at Preston, we played a lot of games in midfield together and I haven’t seen him for a while.

We’ve been in touch quite a bit but we’ve not had the chance to meet up.

There will be the chance to say hello on Saturday and have a quick chat.

But then it will be down to business on the pitch and friendship temporarily goes out of the window.