Exclusive Darnell Fisher PNE column

Challenging for the ball against QPR defender Jack Robinson a fortnight ago
Challenging for the ball against QPR defender Jack Robinson a fortnight ago

Our season boils down to these next two games, the first of which is against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

This is football, it is the Championship so anything could happen on Saturday and again next weekend.

We have to stay focused on our games and see what happens elsewhere.

When we aren’t playing and there’s a game involving one of our rivals, of course I pay attention to it.

On Tuesday night, I watched Derby’s game against Cardiff which was a big one in the play-off and promotion race.

We are all football fans and you watch the live games and study them like anyone else would.

When we started off the season in August, our aim was to try and challenge for the play-offs and that could still happen depending on what we do and the other results.

I think we have done okay this season, we’ve dropped a few silly points and could have scored more goals but we are still in quite a decent position.

For me personally, to be challenging for the play-offs here is in complete contrast to last year at Rotherham.

It was a relegation fight all season and Rotherham went down with a few games of the season to go.

You never know what is around the corner and I got the move here last summer.

What happened last year was a learning curve for me and I hope it has made me stronger.

Losing every week was a mental battle, something you had to cope with along with the usual physical fight.

I managed to cope with it, that was last season and my focus is on this one. Leaving Rotherham to come here was all a bit of a whirlwind to be honest.

I signed the deal, trained and then we had the team photo done in the afternoon.

A couple of days later I played my first pre-season game for Preston in the rain at Fleetwood and then it was straight into the season.

Football happens like that, one minute you are at a club, the next you’ve moved on and have a new set of team-mates.

Any player who joins us will say what an easy place this is for settling into.

From the moment I came in, I could see that everyone was singing from the same hymn sheet.

That togetherness you take on to the pitch and has been a big help this season.

There are some great lads in the dressing room, the skipper Tom Clarke, Greg Cunningham and Alan Browne are big characters for example.

I sit next to Calum Woods and Paul Huntington and they helped me so much when I came in.

This season I think I have done okay here, the manager has shown a lot of faith in me and given me responsibility.

I’ve tried to be consistent, defend well and work hard.

The fans have been great, supporting me from the first game and carrying that on throughout the season.

It would be great if I could repay that by helping us get into the play-offs.

If that happens, it would be a huge moment in a 
career, which started a long way from home at Celtic.

I’m from Reading and the amateur team I played for played in a tournament in Scotland when I was 16.

Celtic scouts were at the game and I was fortunate enough to be asked to sign for the club.

People talk about the league up there and what the standard is, but playing for Celtic is a different scenario and the demand is huge on the players.

It is a massive club with a huge fan-base and being there served me well.

There were a lot of bumps in the road on the way, at times it was hard but I had some good times there.

Neil Lennon gave me my first-team chance there and I will always be in his debt for that.

Ronny Deila took over from Lennon before Brendan Rodgers got the job.

In Deila’s last season, I was on loan at St Johnstone where I worked with Callum Davidson, who used to play here at Preston.

I played under Rodgers in pre-season when I came back before he told me I could leave in search of first-team football – that is when I went to Rotherham.

At Celtic I played with some great players, Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster, Baran Kayal and Joe Ledley to name just a few.

All my football has been played a long way from home and I had a chuckle when we played Reading – my home town club – earlier in the month.

Their fans gave me a bit of stick, calling me a Northern so-and-so, not realising I live five minutes from the ground and can hear the noise at my house!