PNE player column: Tommy Spurr

Preston North End's Tommy Spurr (left) and Paul HuntingtonPreston North End's Tommy Spurr (left) and Paul Huntington
Preston North End's Tommy Spurr (left) and Paul Huntington
Centre-back is the role I think I am best suited to

There has been a bit of talk about my favourite position on the pitch and I’ll say straight away it is as a centre-half.

So it was great to have an opportunity to play there during pre-season and then to have started last week’s victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

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During my career I have played either in the centre of defence or at left-back but it is definitely in the middle where I feel comfortable,

In every training session under the new manager I have been at centre-back and that is how I would like it to continue.

Last season it was a little bit frustrating that I had to play on the left.

I came into the team as a wing-back which was a role I hadn’t really played before and then later I got a few games as a left-back.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’ll play anywhere I’m asked and try my hardest but I don’t feel I did myself justice at times last season.

Last week, I was paired with Paul Huntington at the back and I enjoy being next to him .

Hunts has been around the game for quite a while like myself and I actually used to play against him quite a bit when he was a young lad at Newcastle and I was in the Sheffield Wednesday youth team.

We are a similar age and I remember Newcastle knocking us out of the FA Youth Cup one year when Hunts was in their team.

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We get on well, and during the week speak a lot about the role we are playing and how we can work things a bit better.

You have got to have those partnerships all over the pitch.

On my left I have a good understanding with Greg Cunningham – we know how each other play.

Obviously there was a big change here in the summer with Alex Neil taking over.

A change of manager is always a big thing but these thing happen and it was something that happened quite a few times when I was at Wednesday and also at Blackburn.

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It is a clean slate for everyone when a new manager comes in and you have to work hard to make a good impression.

The gaffer is working us hard to get as much out of us in a bid to push us towards a higher finish in the league.

He is a very hands-on manager and players enjoy that because you want to be pushed and helped as much as possible.

It is a good balance out there, you’ve got the gaffer and Frankie McAvoy who have come in, joining Steve Thompson who was already here.

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Frankie has been good out there on the training pitch, helping us adapt to the style which the manager wants.

Our season started very well with the win against Wednesday.

In the last couple of years, the team hadn’t started very well, so it was great to get off the mark at the first time of asking and in the manner we did.

As a defender, the clean sheet was nice and hopefully we can go and build on it over the next few weeks and months.

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It was a deserved win and I didn’t think Sheffield Wednesday offered much at all – it was more comfortable than the 1-0 scoreline might have suggested.

As a team, we pressed them all over the pitch and worked hard.

That made our job easier as defenders when you have got the strikers and midfielders hunting the ball higher up the pitch.

At the back, we had the occasional one versus one situation when we had to defend well individually, but otherwise it was very much a team effort.

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Jordan Rhodes was in the Wednesday attack, someone I knew very well from my Blackburn days.

It seemed a bit weird playing against him but you get situations like that.

After playing last week against the club where I started my career, this weekend we go to Leeds which is where I’m from.

It will be a big one for me personally as all my mates and family are Leeds fans.

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Leeds are fancied to do well this season but we will go there and concentrate on our own game.

If we play like we did against Wednesday, we will give ourselves a strong chance of winning. I like playing at Leeds, it is a great stadium and if you can’t get yourself up for going there, you are struggling.

When I was really young, I used to go to watch Leeds.

But when I was eight, I joined Wednesday’s academy and we used to get free tickets for their games.

Hunts played for Leeds earlier in his career so this is a game for him to look forward to as well.