Honest verdict on his season from Preston North End skipper Alan Browne
Preston North End captain Alan Browne is not a player to mince his words and has delivered an honest verdict on his performances this season.
‘Not great’ is how the 26-year-old midfielder assesses 2020/21, a campaign which has only two more weekends to run for the Lilywhites.
They host Barnsley on Saturday in their final game at Deepdale before visiting the City Ground to play Nottingham Forest a week later.
It has been a season spent in the wrong half of the table and when they got too close to comfort to the relegation scrap, the plug was pulled on Alex Neil.
Browne know things have to be much better next season, more in line with the improvement shown in the last five weeks under Frankie McAvoy.
Asked how he rated his own season, Browne told the Lancashire Post: “Not great. It was just a poor season all round. I’ve moved around positions but I still think I could have performed better. No matter where I play I expect a lot from myself.
“I just wasn’t up to it this year, there is no reason for that, I just wasn’t at it. I need to change that going into next year.”
Browne does not pin any blame on last season rolling into this one, with only a short summer break in between.
“It’s been really tough for everyone, that is not why I’ve had a poor season,” said the Republic of Ireland international.
“I know what I’m capable of and I know I will have a lot better one next year.”
After North End got dragged down the table in the latter weeks of Neil’s reign, things have been moving in the right direction since McAvoy took interim charge. His six matches at the helm haven seen three wins, two draws and one defeat.
Last week’s victory over Coventry at St Andrew’s came courtesy of Browne netting a 67th-minute penalty, the first time he had taken a spot-kick at club level for three years.
It was his fourth goal of the season, all of them leading to wins.
Said Browne: “I wanted to take one at Cardiff the other month but Gally was above me in the pecking order that day.
“Then when we got the second one, Ched Evans said he really fancied it.
“I didn’t know whether Ched was good at pens at the time. After he missed it I told him he wasn’t taking one again!
“We didn’t get another penalty until last week so I had to wait my turn.
“I was confident when I stepped up to be honest, I had no doubts about taking it.”
Browne wants a strong finish to the season , with the foot staying on the gas even though the victory at Coventry made them safe.
That has been the message this week from McAvoy, the aim to finish as strongly and as high up the table as possible.
Browne said: “It is not a case of now that we are safe we can rest on our laurels. Frankie has been reiterating that all week.
“We are in it for him as much as anything else, try and accumulate as many points as we can as he puts his case forward. We’ve been really good since Frankie came in.
“Although we had the setback against Brentford, he has steadied the ship.
“We’ve had three clean sheets in a row and we needed that rather than going gung-ho.
“Frankie went a bit gung-ho in the Brentford game, he quickly realised that was not the way to go and has fixed it since then.”
North End face a tough test of their credentials this weekend against a Barnsley side who are assured of a play-off place.
Their record under manager Valérien Ismaël is excellent, the Frenchman having taken the job in late October when the Tykes were without a victory in the Championship.
Said Browne: “They have been fantastic.
“While Barnsley are probably not the prettiest side to watch, they are very effective.
“If you have 11 men knowing exactly what they are doing and know what their task is, you are going to have a good outcome.”
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