Exclusive Daniel Johnson Preston North End column: New deal done, now it’s time to target the Premier League

It has felt great to finally sort my future out with Preston after the uncertainty of the past year. It’s never easy when your future is unclear. I don’t think people realise how much of an affect it has.

Friday, 19th February 2021, 4:45 pm

There is always a bit of background noise in these situations, with people saying this and people saying that – signing the new deal cuts all that out.

I am 28-years-old so the decision was an important moment in my career. People don’t realise that it does affect you on the pitch and off it.

I wasn’t just making the decision for me, I was making it for my family as well. They are part of it and I had to have conversations with them.

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Yes, I make my own decisions but it is also important to get the opinion and advice from your family because they know me so well and they want what is best for me obviously.

I am just happy to finally get it done and it’s a big weight off my shoulders and I can now totally concentrate on my football.

This is my seventh season with the club and a lot has been made about the ins and outs over the past January transfer window.

Eight players left and eight came in so it does feel a little bit different around the place, but that’s part and parcel of football.

It was disappointing to see players like Ben Davies, Ben Pearson and Darnell Fisher leave because I have played with them for a long time but at the same time you like to see your friends play at the highest level they possibly can.

I am absolutely thrilled to see Ben Davies get his move to Liverpool. You always like to see players progress, especially when you have played with them for such a long time and have built such a great friendship with them.

I am also pleased for Darnell and Ben Pearson – it’s sad to see them walk out of the building but as individuals you have got to do what’s best for yourself and your family.

I obviously wish them all the best and that their moves are successful for them. While we have obviously lost a few players, we have gained a few and they have all settled in nicely.

We have all welcomed them into the set-up with open arms and I think it’s important not to put too much pressure on them and let them do what they are good at.

It has been a big change but like I say that is what happens in the game and hopefully the new lads who have come in and the ones who have been here can help the club be successful in the future. Having been at PNE for such a long time now, I know what it would mean for the club to win promotion to the Premier League.

For myself personally, I would love a crack at playing in the top flight of English football.

It’s the best league in the world – it would be the pinnacle to play in the Premier League. Our results have been up and down this season but as I have said on many occasions before, football is a strange game and all it takes is a couple of wins to get your rhythm, get your momentum and get your confidence up.

When that happens, before you know it, instead of looking over your shoulder, you start to look ahead and at what could be possible.