Alan Browne already looking ahead to next season with Preston North End

Preston midfielder Alan Browne
Preston midfielder Alan Browne

Alan Browne has a few weeks of international football and a holiday to look forward to but the Preston midfielder has an eye on next season already.

The 2018-19 campaign was one of ups and downs, North End fading over the last eight games to kibosh any chance of reaching the play-offs.

A strong middle section of the season had seen them recover from a poor start and push up the Championship to get within touching distance of the top six.

Browne says if lessons are learned from the campaign as a whole, the Lilywhites can be optimistic in terms of turning a flirt with the play-offs into a more solid push.

“The season was a bit of a mixed bag, we had good spells and other times when results weren’t so good,” said Browne.

“At the start of the season we weren’t picking points up when perhaps some of our performances merited more.

“That first spell when we started to pick up points, we were more focused on results rather than performances.

“Once we had started to move up the table, we then had that unbeaten run when results and performances went together.

“That 12-game unbeaten run showed what the squad were capable of.

“We came up short in those last few games which was very disappointing but we know what we need to do as a club next season.

“This season turned out to be one more about learning than anything else, with us having finished higher up the season before.

“There were things which we improved on although the table didn’t show that, while there were things we clearly have to do better.

“Hopefully next season we can give it a right go, players can stay fit and the club can bring in a few to strengthen us.

“We’ve got a good squad with a good understanding of what the manager wants.”

Browne will be pulling on the boots again soon for the Republic of Ireland squad. He is part of a 30-man squad which travels to Portugal on Sunday for a training camp.

His PNE team-mates Sean Maguire and Callum Robinson will be on the flight too.

The few days training in the sun with Mick McCarthy’s squad is in preparation for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar next month.

Involvement in those two games will, of course, eat into the summer break, with PNE due back in training in the last week of June.

Browne, 24, finished the season as Preston’s second highest scorer with 12 goals, one behind Robinson.

He had a couple of spells of injury to contend with and didn’t hit the heights of the 2017/18 season when he was voted Player of the Year by PNE fans.