Paul Gallagher wants one last match at Deepdale in front of the Preston North End fans

Paul Gallagher hopes he will get the chance to play at Deepdale one last time before going full time on Preston North End’s coaching team.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 8:00 am

The 36-year-old midfielder will be on Frankie McAvoy’s staff next season having been in the technical area with him for the final eight games of the campaign just finished.

Gallagher has the fitness still to play at a good level, and plenty of interest had been shown by other clubs if he had chosen to take another path this summer.

He has taken a longer-term view though, a slightly earlier finish to his playing days allowing him to take up a coaching career which could run for many years.

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Paul Gallagher has hung up his boots to join the coaching team at Deepdale

A pre-season game could be a chance for Gallagher to pull on the boots one last time in front of the fans.

He made six starts and seven sub appearances in the Championship in 2020/21.

Gallagher told the Lancashire Post: “Without a shadow of doubt I would love to play in front of supporters.

“This football club has been nothing but excellent to me and my family, that is why I hold it in such a high regard.

“It is one of the best clubs I have been at and I’ve played for some good clubs. That is why I’m still here.

“I would love to walk out of that tunnel one last time in front of a packed Deepdale and say my farewells.

“I like to think I have given everything to the club in my time here. We’ve been successful, managed to win a promotion and become a strong Championship outfit.

“The boys on the pitch, the supporters, the staff, that is the whole football club, people coming together and pushing in one direction. I appreciate everything the supporters have given me.”

Gallagher found it a huge frustration that the whole of the season was played behind closed doors due to the Covid pandemic.

Not since March 7, 2020, have the turnstiles clicked at Deepdale but hopefully the restrictions will be lifted by the time the build-up to the new season starts in July.

Gallagher said: “It has been a tough 15 months or so to play football with no supporters.

“I have played in front of supporters all of my career and some players need that to get them going.

“Some players are the opposite, often the ones just coming into the game who are used to playing reserve-team football with low crowds.

“But a lot of us thrive on the supporters being there, whether they are getting stick or support.

“I’ve been fortunate to play in some big stadiums with big crowds.

“I’m desperate for the fans to come back and support the team.”

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