Paul Gallagher in rally cry to Preston North End team-mates

Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher with PNE boss Alex Neil at Birmingham
Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher with PNE boss Alex Neil at Birmingham

Paul Gallagher says Preston must respond in the right way to the Birmingham defeat and not waste the hard work of the last two months.

Last Saturday’s 3-0 loss at St Andrew’s brought to an end the Lilywhites’ nine-match unbeaten run.

That run lasted through October and November, with 17 points put on the board.

North End are back on the road this weekend looking to put things right, a clash with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground awaiting them.

Experienced midfielder Gallagher said: “We worked so hard in those nine games to get ourselves points and we don’t want to see that go to waste.

“We cannot feel sorry for ourselves because we lost at Birmingham.

“There are no excuses for what happened last week – we weren’t good enough. We’ve got to get ourselves ready for Nottingham Forest.

“It will be a bit different to the type of game we’ve had at Birmingham and also against Middlesbrough.”

Gallagher has started the last four games, and played 90 minutes in three of them.

In an ideal world he would get a breather towards the end of games, as he is the senior member of the squad at the age of 34.

But with numbers thin on the ground, he has been going the full distance.

Gallagher thinks the crop of injuries cannot be used as an excuse, even if the squad has been stretched to its limit.

“Injuries have hampered us but it gives other players an opportunity to come into the team and stake their claim,” said Gallagher.

“People are here at this club to play, no one wants to be on the bench or sat in the stands.

“They want to be starting and this is an opportunity for them to do that. The more experienced lads like myself have a big part to play at times like this.

“We have to get ourselves around the pitch, demand things of each other.”

The turning point of the Birmingham game was the mistake made by goalkeeper Declan Rudd for the first goal.

Rudd allowed a harmless ball into the box from Maikel Kieftenbeld to run through his legs into the net.

Gallagher is backing his team-mate to recover from the experience.

“Dec is a strong lad, he is naturally strong and he will come back from this,” said Gallagher.

“In previous games he was brilliant and made some very good saves.

“When you look back at football matches down the years, you see that kind of thing happening to keepers.

“Their mistakes obviously get more attention than those made by outfield players.

“It is about taking it on the chin and moving on.”