Joe Rafferty is Preston North End’s surprise set-piece specialist

Joe Rafferty has confirmed that he can, in fact, kick a ball.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 4:45 pm

That was the amused reaction of the Preston North End defender when asked about his recent dead-ball prowess.

Rafferty has been on most set-piece scenarios when Paul Gallagher has not been on the pitch in recent games but it is all fairly simple to the former Rochdale man, though he would like someone to finish off one of his crosses.

“I can kick the ball,” he said. “I think people are surprised that I can kick the ball and land it by the goal.

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Full-back Joe Rafferty

“I’ve put in a good few but I’m still waiting for someone to score off them – that would always help. 

“I’d happily be on them all the time, I’m more than confident of being able to take them and putting good crosses in to try and help us score.

“I’m probably not the most adventurous full-back but I like to get forward when I can and put crosses in. It’s the most exciting part of the game.

“I enjoy defending but getting forward and setting up goals is a lot more exciting than defending. 

“It used to be that I preferred a nice hard challenge but these days it’s hard to do that and not have to worry about getting yourself sent off or even if it’s in the first five minutes, be booked and have to play the next 85 minutes with a yellow card.

“These days, it’s probably edging towards an assist – or a mis-hit cross that goes straight in!”

The 26-year-old has been heavily involved in the post-lockdown season, despite not featuring in the first two games.

Rafferty has shown signs that he may have nailed down a starting spot in Alex Neil’s side.

And although he has had plenty of game time, he is not one who is big on the recovery side of the game.

He said: “My legs are all right most of the time after the games and the day after I’m a bit drained.

“I don’t really leave the house – the dog’s lucky if he gets a walk. I probably should do a bit more but I’m not really one to make best use of the physio room.

“I don’t really get massages and things like that, some people love that. I don’t even really like ice baths. When I need to I do, I will jump in an ice bath but they’re just absolutely freezing so sometimes I just can’t do them.

“I’m quite easy really, I’m happy with a bit of a jog round sometimes just to get my legs moving.”