Exclusive Callum Robinson PNE column
After a fortnight without a game, we are all raring to go and looking forward to playing again after the international break.
We could not ask for a better game to get things started again, Blackburn away with 7,000 Preston fans making the trip to Ewood Park.
It is a massive game for the club and the supporters and hopefully we can do justice to the occasion and get the right result for them.
We all have to make sure we bring our ‘A’ game to the table and give everything we have got.
Kick-off is 12.30pm but the earlier start won’t alter our routine too much.
You just get your head down a couple of hours earlier on Friday night and then things move forward on the morning of the game.
The alarm clock gets set for earlier on Saturday morning and instead of the pre-match meal being at lunchtime, you eat at breakfast.
Kick-off times vary during a season and it is not too hard to adapt.
Personally, I prefer the 3pm starts – for me the atmosphere is better.
Saying that, I have tended to score more goals in night games for some reason.
The Blackburn match is the second of three derby fixtures which have come quite close together.
We went to Bolton a few weeks ago and won 2-1 there. Next we have Blackburn and then Burnley come here on a Friday night.
That could be a huge game with Burnley being where they are in the league, and with it also being live on television.
Looking back at Bolton, we didn’t play very well in the first half but were much better after the interval and got the win. If we can produce that second-half display for the full game against Blackburn, we will give ourselves a good chance.
Being on loan from Aston Villa, my previous experiences of a local derby involved matches against Birmingham.
I’ve been in the crowd for a couple of them and they were big occasions with a special atmosphere.
A few years ago when I was a kid, I went to watch Villa play at St Andrews against the Blues.
That was the game when Nickola Zigic scored a late winner for Birmingham.
Earlier this season, I went to watch the Villa play Birmingham in the Capital One Cup at Villa Park.
It was a better result that time, with the Villa boys winning 1-0.
My Villa roots were ones which the Birmingham fans had heard about when I went there with Bristol City earlier in the season.
I got booed that day and no doubt it will be the same when I go there with Preston in a few weeks’ time.
The international break has meant the build-up to Blackburn has been a long one.
I always prefer to be playing rather than have these breaks but they are part of the schedule and you just have to handle them the best you can.
We trained last week and this week, with a few days over Easter in between.
The lads all went to the David Moyes charity dinner night at Deepdale last week, which was very enjoyable.
Before the international break, we had the Bolton win and then the draw against Queens Park Rangers.
Looking back at the QPR game, we should really have won that one.
We conceded an early goal and has to chase the game but we had enough of the ball to have scored more than Eoin Doyle’s equaliser in stoppage time.
When you look at QPR’s squad and the money spent there, it is surprising that they are not higher up the table.
I mentioned Eoin Doyle there and I was really pleased for him when he scored against QPR and, before that, at Bolton.
He is a good striker – his record speaks for itself.
At Chesterfield last season, Eoin scored loads of goals to get him his move to Cardiff.
He is a predator in the box, whether it is a header like against QPR, a tap-in or a one-on-one.
Eoin is a good lad to work with in training and hopefully he can add a few more goals over the next few weeks.
On a personal note, I was pleased to start the last two games after coming off the bench a few times before that. that.
I have had to bide my time since coming back on loan, partly so I could get my fitness back.
Once I got myself up to speed, the lads were doing well and it was a case of being patient on the bench.
After signing in January, I did a lot of extra work to sharpen up and make up for the lack of action during the loan at Bristol City.
Once training with the lads had finished, I would stay out on the pitch and do some extra runs.
I would also go in the gym and do some work on the bike and on the weights.
What ultimately gets you properly match fit is getting time on the pitch in first-team games.
I was building up by coming on as a substitute, getting a few minutes in some games and a bit longer in others.
Now I’ve had a couple of starts, I’m feeling really good and enjoying the challenge of the Championship.
Saturday’s game is the start of the last stage of the season and our aim is simply to collect as many points as we can.
We will then see where that points tally takes us.