Exclusive Alan Browne Preston North End column: Let’s reward away support at Ewood Park

Celebrating scoring at Stoke in January
Celebrating scoring at Stoke in January

It goes without saying that I’m looking forward to our derby game against Blackburn on Saturday and it is clear that the Preston fans can’t wait for it either.

When we drew at Ewood Park a couple of years ago, I was on the bench and didn’t get on the pitch as a sub.

Just recently I’ve seen the clip of when Aiden McGeady scored the late equaliser and the reaction of the fans was unbelievable.

I played in the 2-1 win at Blackburn the season before and that was some occasion.

We went behind in that game but came back to score twice and hold on to the lead.

Both times we took large away followings and it will be even bigger this weekend with more than 7,000 going.

That is a great number and the build-up seems to be have been going on for quite a few weeks now.

You always try and focus on the next game but things have kept popping up about this game, there has been a constant reminder.

Earlier in the season we beat Blackburn 4-1 at our place and that was a great day for the team and for myself personally.

I scored with a volley and I thought it was one of our best performances of the season.

Blackburn are a good side and will probably admit they didn’t play as well as they could do here.

No doubt they will be looking for pay back for what happened in November and we have to guard against that.

One thing we have to work our preparation around for this game is the fact we are kicking off at noon.

Everything you do gets shifted forward and it means your pre-match meal being eaten before 9am and getting the right amount of sleep. We all know how to look after our bodies and prepare properly for a game and that fact it is an early start is just part of being a professional.

I think the noon kick-off is to try and keep the fans a bit quieter and maybe stop them having a beer.

Mind you, it probably won’t stop them and I hope we can give the performance and result needed to make it a great day out.

If we can get a win and make it 10 games unbeaten, that would keep us involved in the play-off chase.

There was a stage of the season when we looked down and out, people were talking about relegation more than anything.

Over the last couple of months or so we have put ourselves in a good spot an given ourselves a chance of doing something.

I wouldn’t say we are anywhere near being favourites for the play-offs or are within touching distance.

We are there in a position where we are competing and have done really well to do that.

Let’s just say we are with a chance and if we can carry on putting in good displays and getting positive results between now and the end of the season, who knows what will happen?

We would need other teams to slip up and there are a lot of teams up there in the pack, wanting the same thing.

You do look at the other results, that is only natural, but we can only determine the outcomes of our own games.

There will be twists and turns between now and the end of the season, I’m 100% sure of that.

It is anyone’s guess who will get in the play-offs.

Make a prediction now and by the start of May you could be miles off.

If we lost two or three games on the bounce, we would be back in the bottom half of the table.

But if we were to continue our good run and win two or three on the bounce, we’d be right up there in contention.

It would be a lot to ask to get into the top six but we are more than capable of a run of good form and results.

We are in double figures of games left so time is still on our side – it is not as if we are down to the last handful of matches.

Every point is crucial is at the end of the day and that is how we have to approach it.

I suppose our progress of late was shown in the fact we were disappointed not to beat sixth-placed Bristol City last week.

Drawing with a side above you in the table is probably not the worse result but we wanted to win it and maybe we should have done.

We had to give Bristol City the respect they deserve as they are a good side and are in a good position.

Our mentality though, is when we have the majority of our players available, we are capable of beating anyone.

I should probably have scored that late header to win us the game and I was disappointed not to.

That was a big moment for me but hopefully more chances can come along in the games ahead and I can take them.