Experienced midfielder Paul Gallagher is excited by the core of younger players who featured prominently for Preston this season.
North End have recruited a number of players in their late teens and early 20s over the last few seasons, Gallagher strongly of the view they have a bright future at Deepdale.
Callum Robinson, Ben Pearson, Tom Barkhuizen, Alan Browne, Jordan Hugill, Daniel Johnson and Daryl Horgan all fit in that category.
At 32, Gallagher is one of the older heads in the PNE squad and likes seeing what the younger players are doing.
“You look at players around the country, some are 23 or 24 and they haven’t played a first-team game yet,” Gallagher told the Post.
“They are at big clubs and just don’t play much.
“Lads have come here and they’re still young but they are playing all the time.
“Look at Ben Pearson, he’s now played 100-odd games in his career. He’s only getting better, Callum as well.
“Callum could have stayed at Aston Villa and not featured but he’s come here and the manager has given him an opportunity.
“The more games you play, the more experience you get, the more confidence you’ll get and the more belief you have.
“There’s nothing better than playing first-team football.
“When you play Under-23s or Under-21s football it’s all a bit tippy-tappy.
“When you play in a man’s league there is a lot of graft involved and a lot of tackles going in and it makes people grow up a lot quicker.”
Many of Gallagher’s 34 games in the campaign just ended came in the centre of midfield.
So, more often or not, he had Pearson and Browne for company in there.
Said Gallagher: “There’s Alan Browne, who is another of the young players who has come on leaps and bounds.
“As an experienced player it’s really good to see that.
“You try and pass your experience on and it’s good to watch them take the advice you’re giving them.
“I like to watch them. The enthusiasm they play with and the energy they have is great.
“Callum is good to watch and Ben Pearson, for someone so young, isn’t afraid to go around and get stuck in.
“He doesn’t show a lot of respect to the older players and puts himself about, which is good.
“This club has a wealth of young players and some good experienced pros who can help along the way.
“That is something which stands us in good stead for years to come.
“If we can add again in the summer, I think we can give ourselves a really good chance next season of doing well.
“We did well for large parts of this season,played some good football but it finished a bit disappointingly.”
Gallagher has featured in 139 games for North End since joining the club – initially on loan from Leicester City – in October 2013.
Earlier in his career, he made 19 appearances in PNE colours in a loan spell from Blackburn.