Stand-in Preston North End skipper Ben Davies’ pride in leading out team at Deepdale
Ben Davies is not a player to show a great deal of emotion but there probably was not a prouder man at Deepdale for Preston’s last game before the international break.
It was Sean Maguire who grabbed the headlines with a 94th- minute winner against Birmingham, a victory which moved PNE to within an ace of the top six.
Davies wore the skipper’s armband for the game, the first time he had led the team out at Deepdale.
As games go, it could not have gone much better for him.
He helped keep a clean sheet, saw Maguire head home at the other end and won the man of the match award.
Watching from the stand was his family who have been there all the way through the defender’s career.
Davies labelled it as ‘the best part of my career so far’ and aims to continue taking strides forward.
“It was a really good day and everything went to plan,” Davies told Preston’s official website.
“My dad used to drive me down from Barrow to Preston for five years, so for him to be there was special.
“It was a real milestone and a day I will never forget.”
Handing the armband to Davies was no token gesture from Alex Neil.
The PNE manager values the captain’s role highly and has spoken before of the job holding real significance in the eyes of North End fans.
Earlier in the season, Neil made Davies captain for the League Cup win against Leeds at Elland Road.
But the Birmingham game was a first for him at Deepdale.
Davies is the latest in a list of players who Neil has had to entrurst the armband to.
Tom Clarke is North End’s club captain but a knee injury has kept him on the sidelines for the last few weeks.
Paul Gallagher had been deputising, only for a calf strain to force him to miss the Birmingham clash.
Alan Browne, another to wear the armband, was also on the sidelines nursing an ankle problem.
Paul Huntington has also been skipper but did not make the matchday squad.
It might be that Gallagher is back for Saturday’s clash with Reading at the Madejski Stadium and can resume the captain’s role.
In Davies, though, Preston have a defender maturing by the game and whose stock has risen significantly in the last two seasons. He has started 31 of PNE’s 38 league games this campaign.