Centre half Ben Davies is helping Preston find the right balance in defence

Preston North End's Ben Davies
Preston North End's Ben Davies

Ben Davies is happy to be among quite a rare breed of left-footed centre-halves and hopes the balance it gives the Preston defence can help keep them challenging at the top of the Championship.

His left-foot/right-foot partnership with Patrick Bauer has won plenty of plaudits this season.

They have played 15 of the 16 league games together, an ankle injury keeping Davies out of the derby win against Blackburn in which Preston found themselves 2-0 down early on.

Davies told the Lancashire Post: “I do think it helps when you have a left-footed option in the defence.

“You’d be surprised how many times the manager says to show a centre-back down one side because they don’t use their left foot.

“There don’t seem to be too many left-footed central defenders about.

“Playing out from the back and doing it from both sides is quite an important part of how we play.

“My left-foot has always been the stronger. I like to think I can clear the ball with my right and make a 15-20 yard pass.”

Davies, 24, is enjoying his partnership with Bauer.

He thinks they will get stronger with the more games they play.

“Patrick has done very here, he is a good solid centre-back and is a leader.

“Even though he hasn’t been here too long, you can see how he leads and he was a leader at his other clubs.

“It does take time to build a pairing at centre-half, it takes time to build an understanding.

“I still think there is more to come from Patrick and myself, there is still room for improvement.

“The longer you play next to someone and learn their game, the more a partnership will improve.

“Even though we have started well together, we can get better.”

While the rest of the PNE squad were reporting back to Springfields today for training after a long weekend, Sean Maguire and Alan Browne have their sights set on trying to reach Euro 2020 with the Republic of Ireland tonight.

The Irish face Denmark in Dublin and it is a must-win game for them.

Both started Thursday’s 3-1 friendly win over New Zealand, with Maguire scoring a 20-yard shot – that his first international goal.

There is a possibility that Maguire could start, with him an option to start on the right side of the attack.

He played on the left in the New Zealand game but that role is likely to be filled by James McClean.

But there is a vacancy on the other side, with former PNE striker Callum Robinson also under consideration.