Exclusive Paul Gallagher PNE column
Leicester City are closing in on the Premier League title and I would love to see my former club win it.
I like to joke that I helped put the bricks in place for what they are doing – so does Greg Cunningham who had a loan spell there.
In fact so does the gaffer, even though it is years since he played for Leicester!
All jokes aside, it is a breath of fresh air for the Premier League to see them at the top.
They did unbelievably well just to stay up last season after being so far behind.
So for them to have kicked on and done what they have this season, is a fantastic achievement.
The owners there have been very good, putting a lot of money into the training ground and stadium.
They don’t court publicity and give a lot back to the supporters, such as giving them free beer and donuts at the last home match.
A lot of the lads from my time at Leicester are still there and a big part of their push for the title. I played with Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, Jeffrey Schlupp, Andy King, Danny Drinkwater and Jamie Vardy, all very good players.
A lot of the staff are there too, Craig Shakespeare Mike Stowell and Steve Walsh, to name just three.
Leicester seem to be play with a freedom, they almost have no fear.
Vardy is an example of that – he respects his opponent but will still get stuck into them. Some people can come up against the top players and freeze, thinking they can’t kick them because they play for England or are a big name.
But Vardy will just steam on, trying to cause as much havoc as he can. Leicester have a good blend of English and foreign players, also a good blend of experience and youth.
I think that they can go on and win the title – I’ll be keeping everything crossed that they do.
They are a level-headed bunch in that they don’t get too carried away by a win and not too down if they lose.
I still speak to a few of the lads there and they haven’t changed in any shape or form.
Turning to matters here at Preston, we have another tough game ahead of us on Saturday against Middlesbrough.
It is another chance for us to test ourselves against a very good side and hopefully we can bounce back from the midweek defeat to Fulham.
Plenty has been made about me continuing to play with the hernia injury I have.
An operation to repair it has been cancelled twice now so that I can continue to feature.
That is something I’m happy to do because I want to play as many games for Preston as possible.
When I was a Leicester, I missed a lot of football due to certain things. A lot of footballers play with injuries, it is not unusual for them to put surgery off until a later date.
I have probably not been 100% fit since I was 19 or 20!
An example was last season when I played for a number of weeks with a badly bruised metatarsal bone.
I kicked the ground instead of the ball during the home game against Scunthorpe and the moment I did it, I felt sick.
I thought I had broken the bone, they sent me for an X–ray and fortunately it was just badly bruised.
It was a case of getting on with it, grinning and bearing the pain.
Once I had recovered from that, I got a kick on the same foot in the play-off semi-final against Chesterfield.
I managed to get back for the final and then did my calf 37 minutes into the Wembley final, forcing me off.
All that shows it is possible to play through injuries – it is all about how you manage yourself in between.
I have a good relationship with the manager and his staff and I keep them informed with how the injury is feeling.
I’m battling on and getting through the games without too many problems.
In December and January, I was struggling to get to the 70-minute mark of games because the colder weather affected the injury and caused it to tighten up. More recently, I have been getting some 90 minutes in which is good.
Sometimes, it has been a case of gritting my teeth and battling on, other times the injury has felt alright.
Against Fulham, we used two of our substitutes in the first half when Tom Clarke and Calum Woods were injured.
Then Jordan Hugill got a knock in the second half which forced him off.
So I had no option but to play the 90 minutes, keep on going until the end.
I played 90 minutes against Blackburn too, what a great occasion that was.
To see 7,000 Preston fans behind the goal was incredible and it was great to reward them with the 2-1 win.
It was my first time back at Ewood Park as a player and it was quite an occasion.
Them going down to 10 men meant I got a bit more time on the ball, which suited me.