PNE defender eyes perfect ten

Calum Woods has become a regular starter in the Preston defence of late
Calum Woods has become a regular starter in the Preston defence of late
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Calum Woods is enjoying his longest unbroken run in a Preston North End shirt and hopes to stretch it into double figures against Blackburn.

The versatile defender has started PNE’s last nine games, Woods playing his part in the keeping of six clean sheets.

North End resume action on Saturday against Rovers, the derby set to attract Deepdale’s biggest crowd of the season.

“I’m having a good run in the side at the moment and hopefully that continues,” Woods told the Evening Post.

“It is about staying injury-free and I’m feeling good.

“We are just coming to the end of the international break and it was probably a good time to have a breather after a lot of Saturday-Tuesday football.

“But we are all eager to get going again and continue the good form we have shown in recent weeks.

“We have got a massive game to come back to and it should be a great atmosphere inside Deepdale.

“All the lads are up for it and looking forward to it.”

Woods has played 41 times for PNE – 32 starts and nine substitute appearances – since joining on a Bosman in July 2014 after leaving Huddersfield.

His previous best run in the side amounted to five successive starts at the beginning of last season.

After that, Woods was in and out of the side, either due to injury or others being ahead of him in the pecking order.

At the end of the season, he got back into the starting XI for the second leg of the play-off semi-final against Chesterfield.

The 28-year-old then kept his place for the play-off final victory over Swindon at Wembley. Woods has played right the way across the 
PNE back line in their unbeaten run.

In the main, he was next to Bailey Wright and Greg Cunningham in a three-man defence.

The former Liverpool trainee has also played at right-back and left-back.

Said Woods: “I honestly don’t mind where I play, just as long as I’m there on the pitch.

“Wherever the manager wants to play me, I’ll slot in.

“During my career I have played in different roles so I can slot in when and where.

“We’ve been really pleased with the six clean sheets and it would be nice to maintain that good run.

“It is not just down to the defence though, the run we are on has been very much a team effort.

“You’ve seen the front lads closing down the opposition defenders when they play out from the back.

“The midfield have worked hard to win the ball and stop the play coming forward.

“As well as keeping the clean sheets, we know that we need to score more goals.

“It is up to the whole team to chip in with their fair share, not just the strikers.”

This weekend, PNE will be facing a Rovers side who appointed Paul Lambert as their new manager this week.

Woods believes that will only add to the occasion.

He said: “It gives things even more spice.

“Their players will be trying to impress the new manager and show him that they deserve to be in the team on a regular basis.

“Our focus is on us though – we have to pick up where we left off before the break.”