Ched Evans hoping to win the hearts of Preston supporters with his all-action performances
New boy Ched Evans hopes his goal and performance last weekend against Rotherham United will go some way to helping him win over the Preston faithful.
The striker’s arrival at Deepdale during the January transfer window was met with a mixed reaction among fans.
The 32-year-old accepts that supporters are entitled to have an opinion but he is eager to show them that he will wear his heart on sleeve for the North End cause.
Having made a couple of brief substitute appearances since arriving from League One outfit Fleetwood Town, Evans was handed a starting place by boss Alex Neil for the visit of the Millers to Deepdale.
Although the match did not go the way home side would have liked as they paid the price for a catalogue of missed opportunities to lose 2-1, the performance by Evans was certainly the one shining light.
He pulled a goal back in the second half and maybe should have been awarded a penalty towards the final whistle.
Evans’ all-round play, including the way he linked up with his team-mates, drew praise from his manager.
And he believes if he can continue with those kind of performances, then the fans’ approval will come his way.
“I understand fans’ opinions and I appreciate them,” said Evans, who has featured for Manchester City in the Premier League in the past.
“But if I went into work every day worrying about what people thought then I couldn’t be a professional footballer.
“For me personally, I just need to focus on the day in hand and move forward and just enjoy my football.
“Last week I think I showed what I am capable of but that was only one game.
“I think to get a better judgement of me as a player, it’s going to take more than one game.
“I just need to follow on from Saturday and keep improving.
“I do feel that once I get a few games under my belt and I get used to the players I am playing with and knowing how they play – their strengths and qualities – I think it will create more
chances and more goalscoring opportunities.
“That really does excite me. There are already some really good strikers here and I will have to earn my place in the team.
“Once you do get that chance it’s about taking it but you should never get comfortable about your place in the team.”
Evans admits it was nice to score wearing the Lilywhites jersey last weekend.
He can remember bagging a couple of goal for Sheffield United against his current club, although the less said about a penalty miss in the same match , the better.
It was back in 2012 when Evans scored twice in the second half to help United defeat Graham Westley PNE’s 2-1 at Bramall Lane in a League One encounter.
The Blades were seemingly on the march to promotion, although they would eventually miss out losing to Huddersfield in the play-off final at Wembley courtesy of a penalty shootout.
Evans notched 35 goals that season – his tally only bettered by Terriers marksman Jordan Rhodes. But the PNE striker still remembers the penalty miss when he failed to beat Thorsten Stuckmann from 12 yards.
“I remember scoring a couple against Preston when I was at Sheffield United in a 2-1 win,” said Evans, who enjoyed a loan spell with Norwich City early in his career.
“But you talk about memories, the thing which sticks in my mind the most about that game was missing a penalty.”
This evening, Evans will be hoping to lead the line in the derby clash against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
Nine points shy of the play-offs, but only eight points above the drop zone, Evans knows there is plenty to play for.
“In this league you can go on two sorts of runs ,” said Evans. “We want to be kicking on up the table.”