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Former Preston winger Will Hayhurst is tackled by Paul Gallagher during North End's 3-1 win over Nots County at Meadow Lane on Tuesday night
Former Preston winger Will Hayhurst is tackled by Paul Gallagher during North End's 3-1 win over Nots County at Meadow Lane on Tuesday night
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Our game at Notts County on Tuesday night saw me play against my mate Will Hayhurst.

Will is a good friend of mine, in fact I would say he was my best mate here at Preston.

We lived just down the road from each other, knocked around together and we travelled in for training along with Thorsten Stuckmann, who lives in our neck of the woods.

So it was an bit weird going up against him for the first time since his move away, especially in the circumstances.

He was trying to help Notts County get a win to avoid relegation and we were at Meadow Lane in search of three points to aid our promotion push.

Will started off on their right wing, which meant he was down my side of the pitch. After 15 minutes or so, he switched over to the left wing and then came off at half-time when they changed formation.

Before the game, we had thought that Will might have played at left-back because they’ve had a few injuries in that position.

Once the match started we put our professional heads on and just got on with it.

Friend or no friend, you are there to try and win your side three points – banter and being friendly goes out of the window.

Let’s have it right, I would kick my own granny if it meant winning a game of football!

After taking the three points from that game, I wish Will and Notts County all the best in their efforts to avoid relegation.

That win kept us in second place in the table and if we win our last two games, we stay there no matter what.

We have to concentrate on ourselves and go for the points.

Whatever happens elsewhere happens – if we win both our games we will get to where we want to be.

I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to get promoted – what a great way to earn a living.

This is not a pressurised situation, rather a situation which we have to thrive on.

It could be a lot worse – just think if we were scrapping to avoid relegation like Will is doing at Notts County?

We are scrapping to get into the Championship and better our lives.

You might look at the second halves of the last couple of games and wonder if we are thriving on it but I can assure you that we are.

The first halves of the Port Vale and Gillingham games were probably the best two halves of football I have played in during my time at Preston.

That was in terms of dominating a game, the passages of play and the number of shots we had – I think we had almost 40 shots in those two first halves combined.

The focus of a lot of people has more been on what happened in the second half of both those games.

It is almost human nature, certainly football nature, that you automatically start dropping back when you have a lead in a game.

That is not something we mean to do, want to do or are instructed to do.

I do not want us to be dropping on our own six-yard box but it can happen at any level of football.

We need to work on that, get a bit braver, keep a higher line and get further up the pitch to put pressure on the opposition.

That said, we are playing in League One and there are some good teams who have it about them to put sustained spells of pressure together.

No team is going to roll over and let you have it all your own way in games.

We have got to be good enough to weather the storm and be ruthless at the other end of the pitch.

Next up for us are Swindon, who are a very good team.

A lot has been made of their budget – they have not got a lot of it – but they have done very well on what they have got. Swindon have some talented footballers and we are going to have to be on top of our game if we are to get three points.

One of my early games for Preston was against Swindon in September 2012.

That was the game when Paolo Di Canio substituted the goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.

We pressurised Swindon that afternoon, played at a high tempo and forced mistakes from them.

Di Canio did not like seeing the mistakes being made and so substituted the keeper.

Foderingham is still their goalkeeper, a very good footballing keeper might I add.

It goes without saying that these last two games are massive for us – together we aim for the same thing.