Paul Gallagher has rated Preston North End’s victory at Wembley as his best moment in football.
He might only have lasted 36 minutes of the 4-0 win over Swindon because of injury but the midfielder still had the satisfaction of setting up the opening two goals.
The difference between what we felt after Colchester and the night at Wembley was incredible
It was his free-kick which Jermaine Beckford hooked home in the second minute.
Then Gallagher supplied the cross for Paul Huntington to guide over the line.
Promotion means it will be a happy summer for the 30-year-old and it is hoped the loanee will be back at Deepdale in July as a permanent signing.
Gallagher told the Evening Post: “Wembley topped off a magnificent season.
“We had a few ups and downs along the way but over the full season we only lost seven games which was quite an impressive record.
“The difference between what we felt after Colchester and the night at Wembley was incredible.
“When the final whistle went last Sunday, it was probably the best feeling I had experienced as a footballer.
“It had been disappointing earlier on to have to come off injured.
“I played every league and play-off game, so to come off after 36 minutes or whatever it was, felt a bit strange.
“At least I had played my part with the first two goals and with the lads we have in the team, there is always going to be someone likely to get on the end of your set-pieces.
Talks are planned next week between Gallagher’s agent and North End over securing him on a full-time contract.
He has been on loan from Leicester since late October 2013 and will be out of contract with the Foxes next month.
Said Gallagher: “I will go on holiday with the family and enjoy promotion.
“I’ve been on the losing team in the play-offs a few times, so it is nice to be other side this time.
“The manager knows how I feel about this club, I’ve been here 18 months.
“In that time I have shown real hunger and desire to help Preston do well.
“I felt part of it here from the beginning and I have never felt like a loan player.
“No one has treated me like a loan player and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Meanwhile, released PNE defender David Buchanan is looking forward to his new challenge at Northampton.
Buchanan was Preston’s regular left-back between September and January.
He said: “It’s one of those things. I picked up a little niggle, a hamstring strain, and the team was doing well.
“Since I have been at Preston it has been a fantastic journey and we haven’t lost many games, so when you come out of a team like that it’s hard to get back in.
“That is part and parcel of the game, but if you speak to anybody at Preston they will all say that I have been professional about it.
“I have got my head down, haven’t moaned, and just worked hard to try and get back in the team. That didn’t materialise, but I can’t thank Preston enough to be honest.
“It was a fantastic journey, and to end it in the way we did at Wembley, is something I will always remember.”