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Defender Ben Davies is up for North End challenge next season

PNE defender Ben Davies jumps with Sheffield Wednesday's Atdhe Nuhiu
PNE defender Ben Davies jumps with Sheffield Wednesday's Atdhe Nuhiu

Ben Davies says he will not be resting on his laurels after his breakthrough season in the Preston team.

The centre-half won PNE’s young player of the year award thanks to a series of mature displays at the back.

Having had to wait his turn for a regular run in the North End first team, Davies is determined to build on what he did in 2017/18.

“I won’t be standing still, I can’t afford to,” said the 22-year-old.

“I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of my team-mates when I say that – we are all in the same boat.

“This squad is improving every year, both individually and collectively.

“I feel like I’m just getting started here and there is a lot more to come from me.

“I’ll have a bit of a rest and then get myself ready to come back for pre-season to give it a good go.”

Davies is a prime example both of the benefits of the loan system and having a degree of patience.

His Preston debut came early at the age of 17 and then he got a short run of games at the start of the 2014/15 season.

In between was a campaign on loan at York City in which he played 47 matches.

Then after six starts back at PNE in August 2014, he hit the loan road again.

Tranmere, Southport, Newport and Fleetwood were four ports of call.

Having returned from the Fleetwood loan last summer, there was every chance he would be heading out again.

Fortunes changed for him however when Alex Neil took over from Simon Grayson.

Davies said: “I didn’t know what to expect when I came back from Fleetwood.

“When I first came back the old manager was still involved.

“Things then changed with the new gaffer coming in.

“I have to say it changed for the better for me because I don’t know how much I would have played otherwise.

“What happened was that it turned out to be a brilliant season for me, I have proved to myself that I can do it.”

A particular skill set which Davies offered to the team was being left-footed.

It allowed for much of the season a left-foot/right-foot balance in defence.

Said Davies: “The gaffer quite likes that balance which has been in my favour because I’m left-footed.

“You still have to perform, I saw in the last few games that just because I was left-footed I wasn’t necessarily going to play – there is still competition for places.”