Darnell Fisher’s exclusive column: Free-kicks are becoming my forte for Preston

In the last two games against Blackburn and Charlton I have taken free-kicks which might have taken a few people by surprise.

Thursday, 7th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Darnell Fisher

Some of the lads practice them at the end of training and I joined in one session and hit a few good ones.

Towards the end of the Blackburn game I got the chance to take one and I caught it alright.

When I hit it I thought this had a chance of going in but their keeper got round and tipped it over.

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At Charlton last week, we got a free-kick early on and I got asked if I fancied taking another.

With the distance it was, I needed to get some swerve on the ball. I couldn’t curl it because of the distance and the angle was wrong to cross it in.

To be honest, I didn’t catch it right and while it was on target, their keeper got down to it easily.

Scoring goals isn’t really my thing. I’ve not scored since I was on loan with St Johnstone in March 2016.

That one was a cross which sneaked in at the far post but I celebrated it!

My job main is to help keep the goals out at one end and have a hand in setting them up at the other.

We have players in the team to score goals and they have done that plenty of times this season. I think we are the joint highest scorers in the Championship so we are doing fine on that front.

As a defender, what was pleasing about the win at Charlton was the clean sheet.

Charlton have come up and done very well in this division, got results against some of the top sides.

A 1-0 win is always good to get away from home, it is a solid result and one we would take anytime.

I actually thought we should have scored more than the one goal. We created a lot of good chances but thankfully one was enough.

We played really well, if you think back Charlton didn’t create many chances.

There was one in the first half when the ball broke to Ben Purrington and his shot was pushed out by Declan Rudd. Then soon after there was a glancing header which went wide.

Other than those, we kept them at arm’s length and were comfortable.

It would have been nice to have had a bigger lead in the bag, especially when seven minutes stoppage-time went up on the fourth official’s board.

We saw it out though, and it was job well done.

That win saw us go top of the table until the following evening which was nice.

However, we won’t get carried away by that, we are only in November and there is a lot of football still to be played.

We are pleased with how we have started and how we have been playing. What we need to do is continue to work hard and see where that takes us.

In the build-up to last week’s game, there were all the rumours and talk of Stoke being interested in our manager.

We had a meeting with the manager the night before the game and he just said it was speculation and that he was staying here.

That was it as far as we were concerned, it was put to bed quickly.

All the lads have social media and we see what is put on there when it comes to speculation.

But once the manager told us what he did, you take his word for it and move on.

We had similar before the West Bromwich Albion game at their place last season.

I think we handled things a lot better this time, the fact we went and beat Charlton is evidence of that.

That said, I’m not sure if all the speculation in April was the reason we lost at West Brom. They were just a lot better than us on the day.

We are back at Deepdale on Saturday when we face Huddersfield and that will be another tough game.

I say that about every game in the Championship, simply because they are all tough games.

Every opponent poses you a different challenge, it doesn’t matter whether they are at the top or bottom.

One week you might play a side who are direct, the next you face a side who like to have all of the ball.

You have got to be ready for the challenge and the manager here does a lot of work to make sure we know what we are facing.

Huddersfield had a sticky start to the season but come here unbeaten in seven games which is good going.

Their new manager has done well, stamped his mark on the place and got them heading the right way.

What we are aiming to do is to get a good result to take into the international break.

This is the third such break of the season but after that, it is a four-month run of matches until the next one in March. That is something we have to be ready for.