Exclusive Andrew Hughes Preston North End column: Settled line-up has made a difference

Sending over a cross during the draw with Nottingham Forest on Saturday
Sending over a cross during the draw with Nottingham Forest on Saturday

During our unbeaten run the manager has been able to play a really consistent line-up.

I think that’s been key to how we’ve been playing of late.

Everyone has come into good form, even the boys coming off the bench and across the squad in general everyone’s playing their part.

Having the same people around you week in, week out does make a real difference for any player.

You just learn all the time and know what to expect from each other.

For example, Paul Gallagher has been playing in front of me on the left more recently and I know he’s not really a runner.

He’s not going to look for the ball in behind so when I do get the ball I know he’s only going to be a little pass away, he’s always showing for the ball.

It’s little things like that which you pick up the more you play with someone.

All over the pitch things just seem to be gelling.

Inside me, Ben Davies and Jordan Storey have really hit some form and it’s fully deserved for both of them.

They’re both able to step out with the ball and are confident in possession and to have a left-sided centre-half in Ben as well always helps. 
They’re showing what they can do.

As a defence, while it was disappointing to miss out on a clean sheet against Norwich by conceding a late goal, it was good to get a clean sheet against Nottingham Forest.

To be honest, it was a tough game after the week we’d had.

We probably needed to score in the first 20 minutes to give us something to hold on to because we tired a bit in the second half.

The last thing we wanted was to let our tiredness get the better of us and lose the game.

We put in a big effort on Wednesday night and it took a lot out of the team.

The games come thick and fast and you’ve got to pick yourself up and go again.

Looking from the outside in, the crowd must have been getting frustrated because we were tired but I think everyone gave it their all and it was unfortunate we couldn’t win.

Sometimes you just have to take a draw, especially with the recent results and the fact Forest are a good team.

It keeps the unbeaten run and the momentum going.

Things are finally coming together now and if we can continue the form we’re on then you just don’t know what’s in store for the rest of the season.

We will take every game as it comes but if we can keep going with the run we’re on then I really don’t see why we can’t make the play-offs.

After the way the boys finished last season it would have been good to pick up from where we left off back in August.

It was frustrating in the first half of the season with all the injuries and this run makes you think, if we hadn’t had the injuries we had, where we could be now.

There’s always one team that makes a late run and there is no reason why that can’t be us.

Next up is a trip to 
Millwall on Saturday as we try to make it eight unbeaten.

I’ve played there before for Peterborough about two years ago when they were in League One.

It’s not a nice place to go as everyone says but it’s better to some other grounds I’ve been to before!

I’ve played all the way through the Football League so know what to expect when we go there and I’m sure the boys do too.

It was a bit back-and-forth when we played them at Deepdale in December but at the end of the day we won the game 3-2 and that’s all that matters.

I got myself on the scoresheet late on and hopefully I can do the same again this weekend. They’re going really well in the FA Cup after reaching the quarter-finals but I don’t think there are many teams that will want to play us at the moment.

We’re confident going into any game that we’re going to get a result.

Millwall will 100 per cent know the run we are on and hopefully that can play a 
part in the game on 
Saturday.

Speaking of the FA Cup, it’s been great to see my former club Newport go so well again this season.

It’s two years on the bounce they’ve done it and the money generated will be massive for them.

I will always be grateful they gave me chance they did, and I was there for a number of years.

I played there with Joe Day and it was great to see him in the headlines with his twins born during the fourth-round win.