Gally back in player mode for PNE

Paul Gallagher switched from player to supporter for Preston's midweek win over Bournemouth in the League Cup.

Thursday, 22nd September 2016, 7:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:55 pm
Paul Gallagher and Anders Lindegaard share a word at Brentford

The midfielder was one of the players left behind for a rest in Lancashire ahead of Friday night’s league date with Wigan.

Gallagher listened to the live commentary of events on the south coast and was delighted by the 3-2 extra-time victory.

The task now awaiting North End is to follow up that success with three points against the Latics.

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“I was a supporter back home on Tuesday night, I listened to the game and it was good to follow such a good performance,” said Gallagher.

“We are a tight-knit bunch here and I was so happy for the boys who went into the side and did so well.

“I was happy for the staff too, that they picked a team which they thought could go and win the team.

“A lot of credit goes to the manager for selecting that team and having the belief in them.

“The boys who went into the side had played a lot of football, these were not lads who were making their first appearances.

“It shows that our squad has plenty of depth, players can go into the side and make an impact.

“Bournemouth made a lot of changes but they had paid a lot of money for a lot of those players.”

Simon Makienok was the headline-maker on Tuesday night, getting off the mark for Preston with a hat-trick.

Gallagher was pleased for his Danish team-mate to have made such a big impact in the game.

“That performance is why the manager has brought him in,” said the 32-year-old.

“The manager has seen him score goals before.

“Simon has certainly taken his chance, you can’t argue with a hat-trick.

“When someone leaves the club, as Joe Garner did, it is an opportunity for someone else.

“Every credit to Simon for taking the opportunity on Tuesday.

“His confidence should be sky-high now and that will only be good for us.”

All eyes will be on the teamsheet for the visit of Wigan, bearing in mind the last two results.

Preston were thrashed 5-0 at Brentford in their previous Championship outing, three of the goals shipped in the final six minutes.

Even before that heavy loss, PNE manager Simon Grayson was planning to make changes for the trip to Bournemouth.

Grayson had to balance the desire to progress in the cup with the need to have fresh legs available to face Wigan.

He made 10 changes, with Greg Cunningham the only player to start both matches.

Gallagher got the night off completely, along with Alex Baptiste, Anders Lindegaard and Aiden McGeady.

Presumably, they will be back in contention as North End look to get the better of Wigan.

It is with a mixture of frustration, bewilderment and anger, that Gallagher looks back on the defeat to Brentford.

“Hopefully last week’s game was a one-off,” said Gallagher.

“In my time here, I had never been on the end of a defeat like that.

“Yet for 75 minutes, we were well in the game and doing well.

“I thought that we were unlucky to be 1-0 down, so to find ourselves beaten 5-0 was hard to take.

“Things seemed to change in the blink of an eye and it is not something I want to experience again.

“Every credit to the lads who played on Tuesday night and bounced back in the way they did.

“It was an impressive result and possibly the shock of the round.

“What we need to do now is find consistency, start putting a good run together.

“We know that we are capable of doing that, we did it enough times last season at this level.

“There was a run when we kept six clean sheets on the bounce.

“We need to be more difficult to play against – teams need to know that they have been in a game against us.

“Last season, we did not start particularly well and had a similar number of points that we have now, it was just that there were a few more draws in there.

“It is about finding that bit more consistency.

“What everyone has to remember is that no team is going to make it easy for you and hand you points.

“You have to work hard for every result and get a bit of the rub of the green along the way.”

Wigan make the trip up the M6 to Deepdale for the first time in 11 years.

Newly promoted to the Championship following a short stay in League One, Gary Caldwell’s men are still to find their feet in terms of results.

They are a point behind North End but Gallagher expects a tough derby test from them.

He said: “Every team in this division have players who are dangerous.

“We have done our homework on Wigan, studied them and done work on the training ground.

“Maybe they are still finding their feet but Wigan will be tough to play against.

“We need to get on the front foot against them, put pressure on.

“Also, we have to do the ‘ugly’ side of the game well, make sure we track back and put the tackles in when we have to.”