Spurr ready to kick on after impressing on PNE debut
Tommy Spurr is looking forward to kicking on after an impressive Preston North End debut.
The summer signing from Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers had been made to wait for his chance by Simon Grayson after picking up an ankle injury during the pre-season friendly at Chorley.
Spurr got the nod against Queen Park Rangers on Saturday however, impressing as a left wing back at North End got up and running with a 2-0 win at Loftus Road.
The 28-year-old said: “On Saturday I felt alright.
“There was a point in the first half where I overlapped and it took me about 10 minutes to get over it!
“I slipped as I was trying to cross it.
“But after that I felt quite strong, kept going and tried to get involved and get forward when I could.
“The last five minutes we were sitting in and just protecting what we had and there was no need to bomb forward.
“The more I play the fitter I’ll get but I’m feeling good.”
For Spurr, it was pleasing to put behind the disappointment of seeing a fresh start with a new club put on hold.
Patience has been a virtue though as he has kept himself sharp leading up to his North End bow.
He said: “It was frustrating in pre-season missing quite a few games and playing catch up a little bit.
“Having to sit and watch the first four games is a little bit frustrating but I’ve worked hard and tried to make sure that when I did get given a chance that I was ready and fit enough to go straight in.”
In most people’s eyes he certainly seized his opportunity, covering plenty of ground down the left-hand side.
He stuck to his defensive task while also sending in some good deliveries, one of which set off the chain of events for Jermaine Beckford’s first-half opener.
Spurr said: “I quite enjoying playing a bit further forward.
“It’s not usually been me but I made a bit of a nuisance of myself pressing and trying to get the ball back and get a few crosses in which was pleasing.
“Surprisingly I quite enjoyed it even if I was quite tired at the end.
“I wasn’t bothered where I played as long as I got a game, I just wanted to make the most of it and try and stay in the team.”
When the team sheets landed, it looked like Greg Cunningham might get the nod down the left with Spurr one of the three central defenders alongside Bailey Wright and Tom Clarke.
Spurr, one of seven signings thus far, was just delighted to get some match action despite playing in a slightly unfamiliar role.
He said: “I enjoy both sides.
“If it meant playing a centre half role then I’d do that.
“I’m quite enthusiastic though and do like to get involved and run about a little bit.
“It was just good to get involved, especially with a team that got the three points.”
The victory was one that settled a few nerves at Deepdale after three defeats to start the Championship season.
Despite it being a long campaign between now and May Spurr admits players, like fans, do start to get a bit twitchy when results don’t go their way.
He said: “When you’ve played three games and haven’t got any points you start thinking that you need to win.
“It does play on your mind a little bit.
“We’d played well for 45 minutes or a spell in each of the games so it was nice on Saturday to put it together for a full game and get the three points.”
It had been something of a hard luck tale for North End in the opening weeks and Spurr was pleased that was put to bed with a convincing win in the Capital on Saturday.
He said: “It’s not like anyone’s turned us over and absolutely battered us.
“Against Fulham things didn’t quite go our way and Becks’ (Jermaine Beckford’s) goal was onside and then Derby nicked it in the last couple of minutes.
“It’s a bit frustrating but we managed to knuckle down, pull together and get three points against QPR.”
Next up for North End is a second round EFL Cup tie at home to League One Oldham tonight.
A victory would put Grayson’s men in the hat with the top Premier League clubs that will enter the competition at the next stage.
As with the first round against Hartlepool, PNE are big favourites but Spurr says they will be taking nothing for granted against Steve Robinson’s Latics who are unbeaten in their last four games.
The Leeds-born defender said: “There’s a chance if we get through this round then you can draw one of the big boys from the Premier League.
“It’s always nice to play in those games and hopefully we can bring someone to our place which would be nice.
“We just have to concentrate on ourselves.
“If we do things right then we’re a match for anyone as we proved on Saturday.
“If we play how we can play then we should get a result.”
As well as progressing in the league cup, Spurr says North End are keen to maintain that feel-good factor that comes with a victory after a patchy start to the new season.
He said: “Winning is a habit, as is losing, so you want to try and stay in the winning habit and not get caught being that team that loses 1-0 and did alright. “We needed to get out of that and we did and hopefully we can win again tonight.”