Exclusive Alan Browne PNE column

'The supporters were fantastic at Bolton last Saturday'
'The supporters were fantastic at Bolton last Saturday'
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An injury I suffered when we played Brighton a couple of weeks ago has meant I have missed the last two games.

So last Saturday, I was in the press box at the Macron Stadium for our game against Bolton, commentating for the club website.

The press box is high up at the back of the main stand and that gave us all a magnificent view of the away end which was packed with Preston supporters.

To see so many fans was brilliant – the celebrations which followed both goals and the final whistle was a sight to behold.

When Eoin Doyle scored the winning goal, I gave a big cheer and almost forgot I was doing the commentary for a moment.

To score quite late in a game to win it, is doubly satisfying and the fans were certainly enjoying themselves.

There was a bit of confusion about who had scored the second goal.

I called it straight away that it was Doyler’s goal – I said it on the commentary – he got the vital last touch to take the shot from Marnick Vermijl past the Bolton goalkeeper.

Had he not got the touch, I’m not sure it would have gone in or it might have been the keeper would have blocked it.

I’m not showing any bias towards my fellow Irishman there, that is just how I saw it happen and the video backs that view up.

Take nothing away from Marnick though, because I thought he did very well for the goal.

It was a good cross from Greg Cunningham with plenty of pace on the ball and Marnick had to get it back from beyond the far post and hit it towards the goal.

Doyler then did what strikers like doing best, getting that last touch close in. While it was a great following of our fans at Bolton, I’m told there will be even more against Blackburn in a fortnight.

We have been given 7,000 tickets and plenty of those have been sold already.

The support we get in away games has been brilliant, no matter where in the country it is and what day of the week a game is on.

It is very much appreciated and to get the win for so many of the fans at Bolton was very satisfying.

The injury I have got at the moment is a strained muscle in my hip and maybe a couple of torn fibres, which has been quite painful.

Like any player, I hate missing matches but hopefully I can get back quickly.

Over the course of a season you are always going to pick up niggles and this is one of those occasions.

The physio has been working hard with me, there is no let-up when you are injured.

At the start of the week, I was delighted to sign a new contract with Preston.

There was a clause in the contract I agreed last summer that once I played 20 games this season, a new one could then be negotiated.

I got to 20 games a lot quicker than I expected and it was great to get the new deal.

The progress I have made here in the last couple of years has pleased me and I must say a big thank you to the other lads and the coaching staff for helping me with my development as a player.

Next week it will be two years since I made my Preston debut in a home win over Peterborough.

It seems like I have been here a lot longer and we have made some great progress in that time. When I first came over from Ireland, it was tough to start with but any player will say that when they join a new club.

I quickly learned to adapt, people helped me find my feet and I was able to concentrate on playing football.

Initially, I came to Preston on trial after being recommended by someone who had seen me play for Cork.

Whoever it was who tipped off the club owner about me, I’m very grateful to.

Quite quickly, the club offered me a deal but it could not be registered until the January because it was an international transfer and needed to be done in the transfer window.

Having that period to just concentrate on training and settle in, was really important for me.

The contract was agreed and it was just a case of working hard in training, seeing what the experienced lads did and listening to the coaching staff.

Once the deal was registered, I had a few weeks to be in and around the squad and then I started to get my chance.

That was two years ago, we were in League One then and now we have progressed to the Championship, where we have done ever so well this season.

The season has flown by and we are down to the last nine games now.

As a squad and staff, we are pushing hard to finish as high as we can.

This weekend, we play Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale and that should be a good game against a team who are close to us in the table.

We drew 0-0 at their place in November and there was not a lot in that game.

After playing QPR, there is an international break.

I have been named in the Republic of Ireland Under-21s squad for a couple of games and hopefully I will be fit to play in those.

It is always special to play for your country but first I have to get this injury cleared up and be available for Preston.