Josh Earl believes he’s getting better with every game for Preston North End

Preston North End's Josh Earl battles with Bristol City's Niclas Eliasson
Preston North End's Josh Earl battles with Bristol City's Niclas Eliasson

Josh Earl is delighted to have found his way back into the Preston side for the last two away games.

The left-back stepped in to replace the injured Andrew Hughes at Ipswich and kept his place for the Bristol City game the following week.

Earl is hoping to have done enough to get the nod for the resumption in action against Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale this weekend.

He has had to show a degree of patience so far this season with Hughes the preferred choice at left-back.

But a combination of shin splints and a bad back for Hughes opened the door to Earl’s return at Ipswich.

Earl told the Post: “I love playing for Preston so to be back in the team for the last two games has been great.

“When I played at Ipswich, that was my first game in eight weeks so I had to find my feet a little bit.

“There were a couple of times when I was a bit sloppy and that was down to getting up to speed and getting my match sharpness.

“I was in again for the game at Bristol City and really felt the benefit of having played the week before.

“Even with just one under my belt I felt sharper.

“To beat Bristol City was a great result and I thought we were defensively really solid that day.

“We had started to pick-up a few points away from home in the games before but that was the first win.

“Going into the Bristol City game we felt confident and that was a great feeling to have.

“They changed formation to play us which was a really big compliment but I thought we handled that well.

“We defended the box well all game and we deserved the win, no question.

“It was the seventh game unbeaten and hopefully we can keep that run going after the international break.

“We’ve got back-to-back home games which will be very tough but we can take lots of confidence from our recent results.”

Southport-born Earl got his first-team chance early last season, only a couple of months after signing pro.

He had a run of 12 games at left-back before a knee injury sidelined him for two months.

Earl made seven further appearances on his return in the second-half of last season.

This season his first two games were in the League Cup, with him then playing the Championship matches against Reading and Leeds.

Said Earl: “The last 18 months or so for me have been a huge learning curve and I’ve loved every second of it.

“I’d only played Under-18s football and the loan spell at Lancaster before I got into the team here, so I’ve had a lot to learn.

“My aim is to play as often as possible and push on.”