Exclusive Ben Pearson PNE column

Striking a familiar pose at Elland Road against Leeds earlier in the season
Striking a familiar pose at Elland Road against Leeds earlier in the season

In the past month I’ve barely put a big tackle in I think.

It’s one of those where it hasn’t really come and as much as I don’t shy away from a challenge, I don’t like to go for tackles that I’m not going to win.

I’ve seen too many injuries down the line.

If it’s a 50-50 or even a 
60-40 in their favour then I’ll go for it but anything less then I’m careful.

There were two in quick succession in the first half on Saturday against Sheffield United that were 50-50 and I had to go into them.

To be honest, the first one got a bit of momentum going for us, it got the crowd up and the players up.

Sometimes when I track a runner or make a big tackle it’s like me scoring a goal.

I really buzz off it and I probably do prefer a good 
50-50 and putting someone in the stands to scoring.

In a way It was nice to get the opportunity to smash someone fairly and not getting booked was another bonus, which is something I’ve come up against recently.

Over the past two or three years tackling has gone out of the game a bit.

Even if you slide tackle fairly but your studs are up then you get penalised for it.

It’s nice to see the referee let it go on Saturday. The majority of fans appreciate an honest tackle that’s tough.

I try and get my foot in whenever I can and break things up and start attacks so it was good to be out there doing what I do best at the weekend.

At one point I even ended up over the advertising boarding and in the crowd in the second half.

The ref gave a foul and it was never a foul. I just tried reading the pass and their player put his arm out and my momentum and a slippy pitch took me steaming over the boards.

I was fine, I took a moment to chill and then got on with it.

Overall, it was a really good win on Saturday.

In the first half we were probably a bit off the boil, it was a bit of a poor game in terms of chances but in the second half we were well on top and definitely deserved the win.

It was nice to named to be named the man of the match as well.

I think I’ve started putting a bit of form together in the past three or four games.

The injury I had earlier in the season killed me a little bit.

I started the season well then it took me a while to get back into but now I’m doing well and so is the team, which is a bonus.

It’s been well documented that the injuries we had were a massive blow.

Without them, I think we’d be comfortably in the top six.

That’s hampered us a little, it’s the biggest issue of the season so far that four or five-game period where we didn’t have the players available, but we’re recovering now.

Ben Davies is back, Darnell Fisher’s come in, Tom Clarke’s come in and we’ve started picking up wins again.

We’re in good form and now it’s an important part of the season with four games coming up in the space of a few days.

We’re just looking to continue our good form and pick up as many points as we can.

That starts with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

They’ve been in and around mid-table for a few years now, they seem to spend a bit of money and I’m sure they players are on decent wages, so you’d expect them to do more.

They’ve changed managers and nothing’s quite worked.

It’s always a tough game against them though, when we played them at home last year they were one of the best teams we played.

It was only Mark Warburton’s second game in charge so they were up for it and they moved it about really well. But our home form has been good this season.

We’ve kept a lot of clean sheets and winning by the odd goal is fine as long as you win the game.

The defence has been brilliant with Chris Maxwell and they’ve just got to keep going because we’re always a threat at the top end of the pitch with the lads we’ve got.

Certainly with the way things are going and looking at the squad, I’m confident we can be up there come the end of the season.

If you’re consistent throughout and pick up two wins out of three in the majority of stages in the season then I think a side will do well.

I don’t think we can 
afford to go on that three or four-game losing spin again like we did.

We need to stay away from that and consistently pick up points in each game.