New start for PNE skipper

Making his mark: Luke Foster was outstanding in the win at Hartlepool
Making his mark: Luke Foster was outstanding in the win at Hartlepool
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Graham Westley hopes that John Mousinho’s New Year appearance on the scoresheet can be the turning point in his form at Preston North End.

The North End skipper headed the winner in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory at Hartlepool.

In a season when he has been dogged by injury, illness and a drop in form, it came as a welcome relief for 26-year-old Mousinho to make a positive contribution.

Westley said: “Mous had a torrid time against Doncaster last weekend and has had a difficult time at the club.

“He’s had injuries, which have taken the edge off him, and has never been a good returner from injury.

“All he seems to have done here at Preston is take knocks after returning and his form has really suffered.

“Hopefully the win earlier in the week and his contribution to it will be a big turning point for him as a Preston player and as Preston captain.

“The Hartlepool win was a good day for everyone here, not just Mous.

“A lot of doubt had been put around everyone and hopefully the three points will have done us all good.”

London-born Mousinho was back in the capital with PNE today as they prepared to meet Millwall in the FA Cup (3pm).

A place in tomorrow’s fourth-round draw is the carrot dangling in front of them, as well as £67,500 prize money.

Westley is impressed with the job Kenny Jackett has done at the New Den.

He said: “Kenny is very hard working and I have a lot of respect for him.

“I know him well from having done some transfer deals. Kenny signed Steve Morison from Stevenage when I was there.

“He gets on with the job and doesn’t say too much about himself.

“We’re going to have to play very well to get something out of the game.

“Hopefully the Hartlepool result can help us get things going again.

“The FA Cup is very important to us as a club.

“Having lost the funds we did after being relegated from the Championship, the cups are big occasions.

“There’s prize money and the kudos of making progress to take into consideration.”

Luke Foster will be forced to sit the Millwall game out, having played for non-league Matlock Town in an earlier round of the competition.

Westley has revealed how since arriving at Deepdale on trial, the centre-half has worked up from a low level of fitness to push his way into first-team contention.

He said: “Luke asked me whether he could come and train with us.

“I’m not really one for doing favours, but I thought 
that maybe Luke could be just what we needed if he got 
fit.

“He’s a strong defender, a composed footballer and a good organiser.

“When Luke first came here he was falling over, he was unfit to the point where it was ridiculous.

“Some of the lads were looking at me and thinking, ‘What the hell are you doing bringing him here’? – Luke has worked hard and, let’s face facts, he was outstanding in helping us keep a clean sheet at Hartlepool.”