Gallagher cannot wait for PNE to test themselves against Premier sides

Paul Gallagher is put through his paces in pre-season training
Paul Gallagher is put through his paces in pre-season training

Paul Gallagher believes the upcoming friendlies against West Ham and Burnley will be a good test of how Preston’s pre-season build-up is going.

PNE host the Hammers on Saturday and Burnley come to Deepdale on Monday night.

The double header against the Premier League duo comes after friendlies against Bamber Bridge, AFC Fylde and Cobh Ramblers.

Midfielder Gallagher , who is with the North End squad in Ireland this week, told the Post: “It will be good to come home and play those games.

“You want to play against Premier League teams, test yourself in games.

“The Premier League is where we all want to get to and these games can be a bit of a measure.

“In recent seasons we have played against a few Premier League sides in pre-season and done okay – Liverpool came here a couple of times, Newcastle and Stoke have.

“We play a good blend of friendlies and these games are the big tests.”

Gallagher is enjoying PNE’s current training camp at Fota Island, the squad there until Friday.

This is the third year they have been to the resort which is situated near Cork.

“Players like to get away from the training ground for a few days, it is a good change of scenery,” said Gallagher.

“You’re out of your comfort zone and it is good to be with the lads for a few days.

“It gives the new lads the chance to settle in, really get to know their team-mates.

“The time you spend on the training pitch and off it helps build relationships which can hopefully help us to have a good season.

“Fota Island where we are staying is a great place – this is my third year coming here.

“All the facilities you need are on one site and we are all given bikes to get around and see a bit of the place.

“It’s a good environment and allows you to focus on the football and fitness.

“You get the right amount of rest, the right food at the right time – that type of thing can get closely managed.”

Gallagher, who signed a new one-year deal last month, has enjoyed all the training both at Fota and Springfields since North End reported back for work.

“We had the footballs out straight away, which all the lads will say is a bonus,” said the 33-year-old.

“When I was younger and starting out in the game, we didn’t see a football for two weeks – it was all running.

“Fitness, science and diet have moved on so much over the years.

“We all had our off-season work to do which made sure we were in good condition for when we came back.

“All the work has been at a high intensity and we look in good shape.”