Alan Browne is delighted to have established himself as a Preston North End regular this season and will push himself to make sure his good progress continues.
Browne’s reward for a run of games in the Championship was a new three-and-a-half year contract which he signed earlier this week.
It replaced the deal which he signed last summer and extends his stay at Deepdale by 12 months to June 2019.
Next week sees the second anniversary of Browne’s debut in the PNE first team.
Browne told the Evening Post: “The new contract shows the progress I have made this season.
“The deal I signed last year had a clause, which enabled me to renegotiate once I played 20 games this season.
“I wasn’t expecting to get to 20 games as soon as I have done, so that is a bonus.
“The gaffer has given me the chance to express myself and show what I can do.
“I have been working really hard and that work has been paying off.
“Football works in funny ways sometimes.
“Last season, in the division below, was a bit up and down for me.
“I managed to finish on a high by getting back into the squad for the second leg of the play-off semi-final and then the final at Wembley.
“This season I have pushed myself and have found more consistency.
“The competition for places in midfield keeps you on your toes, there are always other players pushing me for my place.
“As an individual and as a group, we have adapted really well to the Championship.
“There might not have been many people who expected us to do as well as we have done but it shows how far team work and a good spirit can get you.”
Browne’s recent run of six starts on the bounce has been halted by a hip injury he suffered in the goalless draw against Brighton at Deepdale a week last Saturday.
It sidelined him for the Nottingham Forest and Bolton matches, and he is hoping to recover in time for this weekend’s home clash with Queens Park Rangers.
Said Browne: “I strained a muscle in my hip and maybe tore a couple of fibres, it’s been quite painful.
“I did it in the Brighton game and managed to play on, although it was really sore after half-time.
“During the game I had hoped to run it off but obviously that has not been the case.
“You get little niggles like this from time to time, my injury record has been very good ,so I’m hoping not to be out for much longer.”
Meanwhile, PNE keeper Matt Hudson has been shortlisted for Apprentice of the Year at the Football League Awards.
Hudson, 18, made his debut as a substitute in December’s game at Leeds and signed a professional contract in January.
The Football League Awards are being held next month in Manchester.