Preston North End player column: Ali McCann on a rare clear midweek ahead of derby clash at Blackburn

This week has been a rarity in that we’ve not played a Tuesday or Wednesday night game.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:45 pm

Apart from the couple of international breaks, we’ve had a midweek match every week since I signed for Preston North End.

So to have a full week’s training has been different and hopefully it can benefit us at Blackburn.

It’s been a chance to get the legs back and take some information on board.

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Preston North End midfielder Ali McCann

When you’ve got the Saturday/midweek schedule, there will be days when players aren’t on the training pitch because they are inside doing recovery work.

The others who haven’t played will be outside on the pitches keeping their fitness and sharpness up.

Training ahead of the games is suited to that particular match, and then the cycle starts again.

For the next two or three weeks we’ve got clear midweeks and it is important we take advantage of those.

Before long we will be into the Christmas schedule and the games are closer together again.

We can go into the derby at Blackburn is good spirit after a good performance and result against Fulham.

With the way Fulham move the ball, we knew that we’d have to put a shift in.

I’m told my stats for the game included quite a lot of tackles but sometimes that is what is necessary.

To start with in the first half we didn’t really get going and didn’t get ourselves into the game – we weren’t as aggressive off the ball as we needed to be.

But part-way through the first half and after that, we got on the front foot and penned them in.

In the second half we were dominant and when the equaliser came, it was deserved on our part.

We pressed them a bit higher in the second half which made a difference, we got in their faces more.

Next it is Blackburn which is a massive game and we need to be at it. We’ve had a win and a draw in the last two games and from those results we need to build some consistency.

That has been an issue recently – consistency – and we’ve got to change it.

You look back a few weeks to when we beat Bournemouth and then lost to Nottingham Forest in the next game. That killed our momentum and put us back to square one.

Now we’ve got the platform of four points from the last two games to build from and we’ll be aiming to do that at Blackburn.

There should be a good atmosphere with plenty of our fans going and hopefully we can bring home a good result.

Away from the pitch, I’ve settled nicely here and I’m enjoying living locally.

Something I’ve not done since I came down to Preston is play a round of golf.

There’s a course almost next door to my flat but I’ll probably wait until the spring for the weather to get a little warmer before I play.

I’m not a very good golfer, I’ve not got a handicap yet, but I enjoy it.

It was after lockdown ended that I started to play a bit more golf – I played a bit when I was younger.

Golf courses were one of the first places to open up again in Scotland, so it was a good chance to see my pals and have a round of golf.