Billy Bodin enjoying his unique role in Preston North End's attacking line

Billy Bodin is enjoying the uniqueness that he can bring to the Preston North End forward line.

By Tom Sandells
Friday, 8th November 2019, 8:00 am
Bill Bodin, and his left foot, can provide something different compared to Preston's other wingers.
Bill Bodin, and his left foot, can provide something different compared to Preston's other wingers.

The Welshman is PNE’s only left footed out-and-out forward – Daniel Johnson being the nearest to provide his left foot in an attacking sense but he is better described as a midfielder than a forward, as illustrated by the deeper role he was asked to play at Charlton.

PNE boss Alex Neil has spoken in the past of liking his wingers to also play as inside forwards, meaning he wants them to cut inside, or drift inside off the ball, to pick up more central positions.

If he was to ever utilise this plan on both sides, Bodin would be the shoe-in for the right side, as Johnson would rarely look to offer the option to beat his man on the outside.

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Bodin in action against Stoke City deployed from the right, where he got his first goal of the season in front of the TV cameras.

In a squad full of versatility, Bodin likes that his skills are slightly out of the ordinary compared to his team-mates.

He said: “I like playing off the right or down the middle.

“Knowing that we’ve got so many attackers it’s nice to know I’m one of the ones that aren’t a regular, in that there aren’t many left-footers and I’m a different sort of attacker to the other lads.

“We all bring different things and it definitely helps the team.

Bodin scores his second goal of the season, the opening goal in a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest.

“At the moment we’re trying to get in behind teams and Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen are very good at getting in behind.

“Even though I’m not playing you can’t complain when there are different ways to win a game.

“We certainly showed that in the last few games.

“The manager always says that you try and bring different things to the game, especially off the bench you want to impact the game as much as you can.

“It’s a nice job to have something a bit different to the other attackers but you’ve just got to keep working hard and get into the team and show the manager in training what you can do.”

North End’s no.39 recently signed a new contract at Deepdale, with his new deal running until the summer of 2012.

Unfortunately, Bodin has spent a lot of his time at PNE out through injury, most notably damaging his cruciate knee ligament in training prior to the start of last season, missing the entirety of the 18/19 campaign.

But having put those injuries behind him, Bodin was grateful to have faith shown in him.

He said: “After a bad year of football in your career, it’s great to sign a new contract and getting back playing and doing well for the team.

“The fact that I have missed a large period of my contract, them being willing to offer me a new one was massive for me.

“It’s stability and it makes you want to focus on your football and get your head down.

“I can’t wait to get going again now.

“It’s been frustrating, now and then I’ve picked up a little niggle.

“That’s part and parcel when you’ve been out for such a long time but hopefully I can brush them to one side and just try and get back in the team and get back out there to help the team out.

With North End having reached the summit of the Championship, albeit for just over 24 hours, it’s a good time to be a Preston player.

As usual, PNE are going under the radar somewhat and it isn’t something that particularly bothers Bodin, who was also happy to come away from the circus surrounding Neil’s future last weekend with a positive result this time.

“It’s very exciting,” said Bodin, who will be hoping to get the nod for this weekend’s clash at home to Huddersfield Town.

“A lot of people don’t talk about us as if we’re not up there but the fact that we’ve been up there pretty much all season, and that we went to the top of the league after Sunday.

“It’s like we’re going unnoticed.

“The longer we keep our heads down doing what we need to do, hopefully by the end of the season we’ll be up there.

“Leeds are on TV most weeks but we’re not bothered by that, we’ll keep doing what we need to do and who knows where we’ll be.

“Similar circumstances happened last year with the West Bromwich game and maybe the lads weren’t quite sure what was going on.

“But for the same to happen again and the lads to pick up a win away from home was massive for us.

“The fact that we went top of the league as well was even better, the lads were buzzing in the changing room after.

“We can’t get carried away, we’ve got to keep focusing on it game by game, you never know where we’ll be come the end of the season.

“It’s mad to look at the table and see that we’re top of the league but I think we’ve definitely deserved it.

“Most of the teams we’ve played, even the games we haven’t won, we’ve created more chances and played better football than most of them.”

It doesn’t reflect that we’re lucky or anything like that, we fully deserve to be where we are.

“We’ve just got to keep working hard and maintain that.”