Promotion is still in our hands – PNE star

Callum Robinson
Callum Robinson
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Callum Robinson’s exclusive column

It was nice to be back on the scoresheet in our game against Gillingham but it did feel more like a defeat than a draw with the way things happened.

There was a lot of frustration and disappointment after the Gillingham game but our aim is to put that result behind us when we play Vale.

We played really well in the first half and probably should have been three or four goals to the good by half-time.

In the second half though, we dropped our game a bit and did not get the ball through midfield enough – it cost us in the end.

Obviously I was pleased to score my goal and it was my first since the MK Dons game last month.

I had gone down the outside of Gillingham’s defence a few times which is not normally like me and put over a few crosses with my left foot.

But for the goal, their wing-back gave me the chance to come inside.

He followed me across to be fair to him, then at the very last moment slid in which gave me the opportunity to shoot.

I was going to go for the far post but decided to reverse the shot and put it back into the side I had come from. Jermaine Beckford had scored a great goal before that to give us the lead.

He is on such a good run at the moment and it was a shame that he had to come off injured when he did.

His goals have been coming in all shapes and sizes and from different angles.

You can see the experience and pace which Jermaine has, he brings so much quality to our team and this division.

He knows what this league is all about and hopefully he can carry on scoring over these last four games. We go to Port Vale knowing promotion is still in our own hands, although we have not been making it easy for ourselves.

The simple equation is that if we won our last four games, we will be promoted – that is the way we are looking at it.

We are 15 games unbeaten in the league but we need to put more wins into the run instead of the draws.

There was a lot of frustration and disappointment after the Gillingham game but our aim is to put that result behind us when we play Vale.

We came in for training on Wednesday, re-grouped and we will ready for this game.

During the international break at the end of last month, I missed a couple of Preston games as I was away with the England Under-20s side.

It is always an honour to play for my country and I enjoyed the two games.

We played Mexico at Barnet’s ground and then the United States at Plymouth.

The Mexico game ended 1-1 and it went to a penalty shoot-out.

I scored the winning penalty which was a nice feeling.

Even though it was only a friendly fixture, I still felt a few nerves as I stepped up to take the spot-kick.

Thankfully I caught it nicely and in it went.

For the game against the USA, I was a substitute and got the last 20-25 minutes.

I now have seven caps for the Under-20s and my aim is to progress to the Under-21s.

I’ve played at Under-16s, 17s, 19s and now 20s level for England. The only age group I missed out on was the Under-18s, that was because of an injury.

To take the next step and get into the England Under-21s set-up, I need to be playing regular football and hopefully I will be doing that next season.

There is a big weekend coming up for my parent club Aston Villa.

They play Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

I will be watching that one on television – I had the offer to go to Wembley but we will be training on Sunday morning in preparation for the game at Notts County on Tuesday.

Hopefully my good friend Jack Grealish will get a start in the Villa team.

Jack has started the last two games, so there might be the opportunity to play in this one.

Last season, he was out on loan at Notts County in this division and showed what a quality player he is.

It goes without saying that this is a massive game for Villa, one step away from the chance of competing for silverware.

Their form has been alright recently, drawing 3-3 with Queens Park Rangers at Villa Park and then winning 1-0 away at Tottenham.

I went to the QPR game and as the six goals suggest, it was a cracker to watch.

QPR scored the three chances they created which was a bit frustrating from Villa’s view.

Christian Benteke scored a hat-trick for Villa against QPR and then followed that up by netting the winner at Spurs.

Benteke has really hit form recently, with eight goals for Villa in his last six matches, plus another for Belgium.

Obviously, he will be key to how Villa do against Liverpool.

Having been in and around Villa’s first-team squad, I have trained a lot with Benteke.

He is a very strong, very technical and difficult for defenders to get around because of his strength.

It goes without saying that he is a very good finisher too.

Benteke has been scoring regularly in the Premier League for the last three years and for me, is one of the best strikers around.

Fingers crossed, Villa can beat Liverpool and reach the FA Cup final.

At Wembley, anything can happen on the day.

Villa mean so much to me as I’ve been there since I was eight years old.

I know a lot of the first-team squad so I’ll be shouting for them in front of the television on Sunday. Before then, hopefully Preston have taken three points at Port Vale to make it a nice weekend.