Gally: PNE facing new challenge
Paul Gallagher believes a challenge facing Preston North End in the coming season is that they are no longer an unknown quantity in the Championship.
PNE slipped under a few radars last term when finishing in a very creditable 11th place.
That surprise element is now gone but midfielder Gallagher has confidence in the squad to deal with that.
“People will know more about us this time,” Gallagher told the Evening Post.
“Sometimes when a club is promoted, they don’t get as much attention.
“It is another challenge for us in our second season in the Championship.
“We enjoyed last season, did very well, and we are up for the task of trying to improve.
“That has to be the aim of every club, to improve on what they did the season before.
“Expectations are going to be a bit higher this year but we will work hard to try and meet those, see where that takes us.”
North End start the season at Reading on Saturday, the Madejski Stadium the venue for a Lilywhites victory in the penultimate game of last term.
Jermaine Beckford and Daniel Johnson were on target in a 2-1 win on April 30.
Said Gallagher: “It would be nice to repeat that result and start off with three points.
“Reading have changed a lot since then, in terms of their manager and some players.
“The first game of the season can often be a bit fast and furious and we will be going there to try and cause them problems.
“It is a busy start to the season – after we play Reading there is the cup game against Hartlepool, then we go into back-to-back league games at Deepdale.
“It would be great if we could put a run of results together.”
Gallagher has enjoyed the pre-season, a summer hernia operation meaning he could train and play pain-free for the first time in a number of months.
The 31-year-old said: “It was a relief to get the operation done and the aim always was to be ready to train on the first day of pre-season.
“I hit that target and have done every session. I feel as fit as I have ever done.
“Pre-season training is something I’ve always enjoyed to be honest, the running doesn’t bother me.
“This is probably the 15th pre-season I’ve done in my career and you get a bit wiser over the years in how to get through it and prepare right.
“You play the friendlies for match sharpness and build up a base of fitness in the training sessions.
“What has been good this summer is that we’ve had the new signings with us pretty much from the first session.
“We have got to know them well and they have fitted in well with the group.
“The gaffer has got some good options – every position is covered.”