Preston North End skipper Alan Browne wants to turn his recent suspension into something more positive
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The PNE club captain was back in the squad for the 5-0 thrashing by Brentford after serving a three-game ban.
His suspension was the legacy of a red card against Middlesbrough last month, Browne dismissed for kicking out at Boro midfielder Sam Morsy.
He missed Alex Neil’s final game in charge, then the first two matches of Frankie McAvoy’s tenure.
With PNE having taken four points from those two games under McAvoy, Browne had to make do with a sub’s role against Brentford.
He came off the bench in the 53rd minute as part of a triple substitution.
Browne’s ban at club level was stretched out because of the international break.
He played three times for the Republic of Ireland in that time – two starts and one sub appearance – which helped maintain his match fitness.
Browne told the Lancashire Post: “I feel a lot better for the suspension funnily enough.
“The boys got two good results in my absence and I got a bit of a rest.
“I feel fresh and hopefully I can use that to our advantage in the games ahead and work my way back into the team.
“We know the Brentford scoreline was poor and we’ve got to forget that now, put it out of the system.
“I still don’t think it was a true reflection of the play because we were chasing the game and leaving gaps.
“We go to Stoke now and have a clear midweek to work on things, so no excuses.”
The Brentford game was the first time Browne had been on the bench for a league match this season.
In January he came on as a substitute in the FA Cup defeat at Wycombe.
Browne and Scott Sinclair have made the most starts for PNE this season – 32 – with Sinclair coming of the bench four times.
For Saturday’s visit to Stoke, which now has a 12.30pm kick-off, Browne will offer interim head coach McAvoy an option in both midfield and defence.
Browne, who celebrates his 26th birthday on Thursday, lends himself to the attacking midfield role or could operate at right wing-back.
He has found the net in PNE’s last two visits to the bet365 Stadium, both of which ended in 2-0 victories.
Browne and Brad Potts scored there in January 2019, then last February Tom Barkhuizen joined him on the scoresheet in the Potteries.
PNE have five more games to play with the trip to Stoke followed by next Tuesday’s home game against Derby.
They then face Coventry (a), Barnsley (h) and Nottingham Forest (a).
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