Great Dane could earn PNE deal

Anders Lindegaard gets down among the boots in PNE's defeat at Nottingham Forest last month
Anders Lindegaard gets down among the boots in PNE's defeat at Nottingham Forest last month
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Anders Lindegaard says there is a chance he will be back with Preston North End next season.

The Danish goalkeeper is on loan from West Bromwich Albion until the end of the season and does not see his long-term future with the Baggies.

Having played a dozen games in the PNE keeper’s jersey and with five more to come, he is enjoying his best run of first-team football for a few years.

In all likelihood, Lindegaard would be third-choice at Albion if he went back there for the final year of his contract.

That has no appeal, so spending more time with North End is something under consideration.

Lindegaard said: “Staying at Preston is definitely a possibility.

“We have a dialogue about it, we are getting closer and closer to each other.

“Playing regular football has made a huge difference, I’m a lot happier now than before I came to Preston.”

In terms of performance, the Dane thinks there is more to come from him.

With appearances somewhat limited for him in recent seasons at Manchester United and then the last few months at WBA, there has been a coat of rust to get off.

“I think my loan here has overall been good,” said Lindegaard.

“I’m still building on aspects of my game – I have only played 12 games here.

“This is more or less the first group of games I have played in three seasons and it takes time to get into everything.

“I’m definitely not back at the top level of my game yet – having a pre-season would help that.

“Hopefully I will be playing football next season and not going back to West Bromwich, with all due respect to them, because of the situation I would probably end up in there.”

North End’s aim over the last five games of the season will be to maintain their top-10 place and finish an impressive first season back in the Championship on a strong note.

Next up is a Deepdale clash against MK Dons on Saturday, the start of a busy week with a trip to Birmingham on Tuesday night and then next Friday’s Lancashire derby with Burnley.

Their chances of making the play-offs have gone, defeats to Fulham and Middlesbrough seeing the gap between them and sixth place, stretch considerably. Said Lindegaard: “I think we were unlucky in both of the games we lost recently.

“That was quite disappointing because if we had six more points, our season would not have been over in terms of the play-offs.

“Getting points from games where we play well is something which Preston need to learn from for next season.

“We should have won against Fulham, then we played Middlesbrough, who are quite an experienced team and solid.

“With a bit of luck and with a bit of cleverness, we could have got something out of that one.

“Although the play-offs might have gone, we are still playing to get as high as possible in the league table.

“We are playing too so that we can be better for next season.

“On Saturday we have MK Dons. They are in the relegation zone and we are sitting comfortably in the table.

“We have to show that we are the better team, show the reason why we are where we are in the table and why they are struggling.”

An aspect of his loan spell which Lindegaard has particularly enjoyed, is the mood within the North End dressing room.

Experiencing that beyond this season could prove a big pull to him, in terms of a move to Deepdale.

“There is a very strong spirit in the team,” Lindegaard said.

“The training ground might have seen better days but the people working here, the players in the dressing room, the manager and his staff, are such a good group of people.

“It is a very good atmosphere in the locker room, that mentality is something we need to build on.

“If I end up staying at Preston after the summer, it is because I think we can push for the promotion slots over the next couple of seasons. The club needs to do that.”

Lindegaard, who turned 32 on Wednesday, has seen the door to the international scene open again since joining North End.

He was called into the Denmark squad for their recent friendly with Scotland at Hampden Park and named on the bench.

Having won five senior caps earlier in his career, the chance to play for his country again is one which excites him.

Said Lindegaard: “It is a long time since I was in the Denmark team and a lot has changed since I was last there.

“There are a lot of new things, new faces and a new manager.

“I think Denmark has got a bright future at international level, something which I want to be part of.

“In the future I hope to get around the team again, even though that will be difficult because there are a lot of good Danish goalkeepers.

“Kasper Schmeichel is doing amazingly well at Leicester and there are a couple of younger keepers coming through too.

“Playing regularly here has helped – the international team would rather have a goalkeeper playing regularly in the Championship than someone sat on the bench for Manchester United or West Bromwich.”