EXCLUSIVE Tom Bayliss Preston North End column: Making progress up the leagues

First day as a Preston player at Springfields (photo: PNE)
First day as a Preston player at Springfields (photo: PNE)

The last couple of years have been exciting for me and I am looking for that to continue now that I’ve signed for Preston North End.

It was brilliant coming through at Coventry City and breaking into the first team there.

Getting promoted from League Two was an amazing experience and then the club did really well to settle in League One last season.

That was great to be a part of and now I want to progress with Preston, show what I can do here and help the team do well.

Coventry were promoted from League Two via the play-off final against Exeter at Wembley.

In the Exeter side that day were two of my new Preston team-mates Jordan Storey and Jayden Stockley.

We’ve already had a chat about that and it is always nice when there are a few familiar faces about who you can chat with.

Although I came through Coventry’s academy, I’m a Leicester lad.

Coventry have produced some good players down the years who have gone on to play in the Premier League.

There’s James Maddison, Callum Wilson and Cyrus Christie, they are players whose footsteps I would like to follow in.

I was at Coventry when Maddison was there but we are a different age.

Coventry’s approach was that if you are good enough, they would play you, never mind what age you are.

Last Thursday was a busy day for me to say the least, with me starting the day off at Coventry and finishing it as a Preston player.

I trained at Coventry in the morning and then got the nod to come up here to get the transfer done.

I didn’t arrive in Preston until about 8.3opm and I had to go for my medical and the scans you have.

Things were still getting done in the early hours and it was 1.30am before I was in bed.

On Friday morning I trained with the lads here and in the afternoon we were on our way to Millwall.

It was a whirlwind, a bit tiring but exciting all the same and I was delighted to be part of it.

One thing most players go through when joining a new club is the initiation song you have to sing.

I had to sing in the hotel on the Friday night before the Millwall game

The only song I know all the words for without having to look at my phone is the Script’s ‘The man who can’t be moved’ so I did that.

I’m not a big fan of the song to be fair but I got through it and I was thankful to the skipper for giving me an early clap! That helped me get through to the end.

Things like that help break the ice and the lads get to know you a bit more.

They have all been very welcoming as you would expect, having a chat with me and helping me to settle in around the place.

While I didn’t feature in the Millwall game, I played 90 minutes against Salford at the training ground during the week.

That was good to play in and nice to get a full game in the legs because you cannot replicate a match situation just in training.

Hopefully I did enough in that to impress the gaffer and when I get the green light off him to be involved, I will be ready.

Rumours of the interest Preston had in me started a few days before I signed.

I couldn’t think about it too much to start with – after all rumours are rumours and nothing more.

Then the interest turned into something genuine and things went from there.

Other clubs had been talked about but Preston were the ones really wanting to pursue me.

The chance to come to a Championship club with a stadium like Deepdale was massive and not one I was going to turn down.

Playing at this level will give me the chance to play against, and play with, good players every week and that way I can develop my game.

I’m a midfielder who can play anywhere in that middle area of the pitch, I like to get on the ball early and get the team on the front foot.

I like to be really exciting and aggressive as a player, be attacking.

While I’ve scored a few goals for Coventry, that is a side of my game I would like to improve on now that I have joined Preston.

Hopefully I will be in the squad against Millwall and get my first experience of playing at Deepdale in front of the home supporters.

We want to get points on the board as soon as possible after losing at Millwall.

It’s been a busy few days but everything has settled down now and I’m looking forward to pulling on a Preston shirt and getting going.