Paul Gallagher says he is geared up for Preston North End’s push for the Premier League

Paul Gallagher (centre) hugs Preston team-mates Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson
Paul Gallagher (centre) hugs Preston team-mates Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson

Paul Gallagher is ready for the challenge of eight ‘cup finals’ which await Preston after the international break.

The Lilywhites’ play-off destiny will be decided over a five-week period, a 12-match unbeaten run having carried them into contention.

When action resumes a week on Saturday, North End will make the trip to Reading outside the top six only on goal difference.

For midfielder Gallagher, the prospect of challenging to get into the play-off places and stay there, is mouthwatering.

“We’ve got eight cup finals coming up – I know that is a bit of a cliché but that is how big the games are,” Gallagher told the Post.

“If you had offered us this position in October or even in January, we’d have snapped your hand off.

“We have worked hard and got ourselves into a position where there is an opportunity to do something.

“As each game comes, we will be looking to keep the dream alive.

“Eight wins and four draws in the Championship is a great record to have.

“Every Championship game brings its own challenge and we’ve met that challenge week after week recently.

“We are using the break to re-charge the batteries and then we’ll be ready to go again.

“The international break has come at the right time for us, a few of the lads have bumps and bruises which need to settle down.”

Gallagher himself was on the injured list for Preston’s 1-0 win over Birmingham the last time out.

A calf injury kept him on the sidelines, the 34-year-old taking a sensible approach to a busy schedule.

He had played 75 minutes at Middlesbrough in the previous game, scoring PNE’s first goal in the 2-1 win. The quick turnaround from Wednesday 
to Saturday was just a bit too rapid for his powers of 
recovery.

Said Gallagher: “I’ve had a few issues with my calf since Simon Grayson’s time here.

“If I had decided to play the Birmingham game and done some more damage, I could have missed the rest of the season.

“Missing one game means I can be fit for the next eight and hopefully more if we can get in the play-offs.

“It is about common sense and knowing your own body.

“I spoke with the gaffer and the physio and we came to the decision not to play.

“You have to believe in the team, that others can come in and do a good job.

“They did that and it was great to beat Birmingham so late in the game.

“I was kicking every ball and I nearly went through the window of the executive box when Sean Maguire got his head on Daniel Johnson’s corner.”