Alan Browne makes contract stance clear as Preston North End summer and start assessed

The Preston North End captain has been a regular this season and performing well for Ryan Lowe’s side
Preston North End's Alan BrownePreston North End's Alan Browne
Preston North End's Alan Browne

Preston North End captain Alan Browne has been as pleastantly surprised as anyone by the Lilywhites’ start to the season.

Ryan Lowe’s men headed into the international break top of the Championship table, having picked up 13 points from their first five matches. Browne perhaps knows the football club as well as anyone inside the dressing room and the Irishman was happy to admit he didn’t expect PNE to be sitting in this spot.

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Swansea City, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke have been seen off, while the spoils were shared with Bristol City on the opening day of the campaign. Browne is not off the mark yet but his all-action performances - predominantly in an advanced midfield role - have been hugely influential. It is the collective effort which has pleased him most, though.

“I remember after pre-season thinking that we could do with a few signings or something; we were really struggling,” said Browne. “But, I think after the first couple of games it was just about sticking to what we were doing and seeing where it takes us. I was definitely surprised by the first five, in terms of the tally of points. I am sure everyone else will have been as well, but we can’t settle for that. I won’t be surprised if we do it again, because I know what we’ve got and what we’re good at. The boys have been top drawer.”

Browne saw his longstanding team mate Daniel Johnson leave the club this summer, while loan stars Alvaro Fernandez and Tom Cannon headed back to their parent clubs along with others. North End’s number eight was aware of this summer’s importance for PNE and he reflects on the club’s business positively.

“It has (been a solid summer) in fairness, given the players we lost,” said Browne. “You probably thought it was going to be really tough to replace them - but the club has done their homework and used the international market well. It has put us in a good place now and hopefully we can keep as many bodies fit as possible. I don’t think we’ve got a massive squad, but certainly a quality squad.”

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Lowe has touched upon North End’s tactics this season and the alterations which have been made, in attempt to suit the squad of players slightly better. Browne discussed it with in-house media a few weeks ago too - and the skipper believes there is greater clarity being seen on the pitch, as a result.

“Yeah, definitely,” said Browne. “I think last year we probably overcomplicated it at times, when we didn’t need to. I’m not saying that was the gaffer, just everyone in general. But yeah, we’ve just stuck to basics, played in the opposition half this year and it has been working for us. So, I think that is what we will try to continue to do.”

On his aforementioned, advanced role in the side, Browne added: “I am just happy to be in the team to be honest, but I definitely prefer that role. I don’t mind filling in further back, but that is my preference - to play higher up and get after teams. I think that is what I’m best at and he has used me there a few times so far, so hopefully I continue to play there.”

With the transfer window now closed, attention naturally turns to the players in the final year of their contracts. Browne is one of those, along with the likes of Brad Potts and Ben Whiteman. PNE’s captain has been open in the past about wanting to finish his career at Preston though - and he says nothing has changed on that front.

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“Yeah,” said Browne, when asked by the Lancashire Post if it is still the case. “I briefly spoke to the club about it over the summer. And I am quite relaxed on it, at the minute. I just want to enjoy every minute and if that is deserving of a contract, then I would be happy to sign.”