Dave Seddon’s PNE press view

Glynn Snodin keeps his eye on play from high in the stand
Glynn Snodin keeps his eye on play from high in the stand
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Many of you will have seen, laughed at or at least be aware of 1980 comedy film ‘Airplane!’ starring, among others, Leslie Nielsen.

You know the one – both pilots of a plane are taken ill with food poisoning during a flight and passenger Ted Striker has to land it.

Bear with me as I navigate my way to a football theme, I will get there eventually!

During Airplane, airport control tower supervisor Steve McCroskey has the daunting task of instructing Striker as he tries to guide the plane down.

As the tension thickens, he turns to a colleague and utters the phrase, ‘It looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking’ as he takes a slug from a hip flask.

In the next scene, as he lights up a cigarette, he says, ‘It looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking’.

So the theme carries on with McCroskey listing other vices and breaking his abstinence.

Coping with a promotion push is similar, I would argue, that feeling of excitement and nervousness at the same time.

Whatever your vice – beer, cigs, chocolate – this time of the season it is hard to be without them.

With the Championship in sight for Preston – but not close enough to touch – every glance at the League One table is exciting.

However, dancing on your other shoulder is that anxiety which being a football fan brings with it.

Why does it feel like every team you are about to play has Real Madrid-type form?

And how it is that your promotion rivals seem to have six games left against sides displaying the form of the Wagon and Horses Reserves?

It is nonsense that you think that way but it is a common aliment among supporters.

We all have our pessimistic side, convinced the team behind is going to come steaming up on the rails.

At present, North End fans cast glances over shoulders at third-placed MK Dons.

Above PNE, Bristol City followers come out in a cold sweat over the threat Simon Grayson’s men could pose.

Hence we might all need that little bit of comfort to get through the coming weeks.

As the games get chalked off one by one this month, I expect to find myself uttering the line, ‘Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up Mars Bars’ as I take a big bite into a bar of the stuff which helps you work, rest and play.

I admit I was nervous about Preston’s Easter Monday visit to Bradford – nervous about the ploughed pitch, the Bantams’ physical threat, the fact they had rolled over Chelsea and Sunderland in the FA Cup.

Everything turned out fine in the end once the ball was given a break from being leathered from one end of Valley Parade to the other.

Maybe the moral of that story is to let the players and coaching staff do their job and just try and enjoy the 90 minutes of action. Easier said than done, I suppose.

A fascinating sideshow for myself at Bradford was being sat in the row behind North End assistant manager Glynn Snodin in the press box.

The No.2 watches matches from a higher vantage point and is in contact with the dugout to give them his thoughts on the pattern of play from the different angle.

I will tell you straight away that Snods kicked every ball and if something needed telling, that was relayed swiftly to the bench.

The passion and desire to get those three points could not have been more clear.

As we move into what will no doubt be referred to on many occasions as the ‘business-end of the season’, it is also the time on the calendar when we started thinking about player of the year candidates.

I had that very conversation with a colleague the other day as we chewed the fat over all things North End.

It has been clear-cut for the last few seasons – Joe Garner, John Welsh and Thorsten Stuckmann have been the men for the last three years.

But where will your vote go this time? Garner again? Paul Gallagher? Paul Huntington? Daniel Johnson?

For me, there has been consistency running through the side and the current position is very much down to a team effort.

Garner’s goals make him a candidate again, his return from injury coinciding with the upturn in form.

With 13 goals and 12 assists, Gallagher must be up there in the frame.

Could Johnson land it even though he only arrived from Aston Villa in late January?

I would be leaning towards Huntington if I was to tick the box now, a player who came in from the cold to make a contribution at both ends of the pitch.