Paul Gallagher explains why he had to take Preston North End’s penalty against Wigan

Paul Gallagher is on target to join the ‘100 Club’ after finding his scoring touch in Preston’s last two games.

The 34-year-old midfielder found the net after coming off the bench against Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic.

Paul Gallagher and Callum Robinson celebrate PNE's third goal against Wigan

Paul Gallagher and Callum Robinson celebrate PNE's third goal against Wigan

He is on 97 career goals and aims to reach a century sooner rather than later.

Gallagher said: “If you’d told me as a kid starting out that I would be approaching 100 goals, I’d have taken that.

“If I could get to 100 soon that would be a great feeling and any goal that can help us get up the league would be a big thing.

“I’m pleased with how many goals I’ve got, bearing in mind a lot of my career has been spent in midfield.

Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot against Wigan

Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot against Wigan

“I’ll always try and chip in with as many as possible, whether they come from open play, free-kicks or penalties.

“I’ve got two in the last two games and it’s been good to find some form.

“We hadn’t been getting the results but four points from Villa and Wigan was a good way to go into the break.”

Gallagher scored Preston’s third goal in the 4-0 win over Wigan last Saturday from the penalty spot.

The question was asked as to whether he had thought of allowing Lukas Nmecha to take it, the youngster having won the spot-kick and being keen to get off the mark.

PNE were leading 2-0 with five minutes left but Gallagher decided it was not the time for sentiment.

Said Gallagher: “It’s usually Daniel Johnson or myself who take them, I’d come on for DJ so I was first option.

“Lukas had played very well but we had to think of the run we’d been on.

“If we scored it would be 3-0 and game over.

“But had Lukas missed, not that I’m saying he would, the pressure would have been on.

“At 2-0, one lucky bounce in our box and Wigan could have scored.

“Then it is back to 2-1 and you are left with a nervous last few minutes.

“The penalty was about me taking responsibility.

“We’d been on a bad run, been conceding goals and here we were with a chance to get three points.

“I was just thinking, ‘Let’s make sure we get over the line’.

“Had it been 3-0 or 4-0 I might have let Lukas take it.”

Gallagher admitted it was a big relief to see his penalty hit the back of the net.

He said: “When I put the ball down on the spot the Wigan keeper looked huge.

“While I’ve missed a few penalties, I’m confident with them.

“There was one against Shrewsbury a few years back that landed in Deepdale Retail Park, then a couple of others have hit the keeper and come back to me.

“But otherwise my record is quite decent.”