Exclusive Ben Davies PNE column

To score my first goal for Preston North End was the best feeling I've had in my time here.

Thursday, 25th January 2018, 4:00 pm
Celebrating the goal against Birmingham

It could have been even better had the day panned out differently but seeing the ball go over the line was a great feeling.

The Birmingham lad headed the ball across the goal and I was just following it in to see where it went.

It just fell nicely for me so I hit it first time into the floor and I was pleased to see it go in because I nearly missed!

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I want to add goals to my game, I’d only scored one in my career – for Fleetwood when I was on loan last year.

I have added to other parts of my game this season but I’ve not been much of a threat in the other team’s penalty area.

That was probably why I got a bit of space to score in the Birmingham game as not as much attention was being paid to me in the box.

Now that I have got one goal, hopefully I will start to score a few more.

The other lads at the back, Paul Huntington and Tom Clarke, have scored goals recently.

It is important that we all chip in with goals, whatever position we play.

Tom and Hunts have shown that they can be a big threat in the box and got their fair share over the last few seasons – that is what I aspire to.

My goal celebration was a bit reserved because I knew it was quite early in the game and we still had a lot of time and had a lot of hard work to do to get a result.

It was a case of enjoying the moment and getting back to the middle for the re-start.

Unfortunately I had to come off at half-time with a tight hamstring. I had felt it about five or 10 minutes before half-time, so I just got through the last part of the first half and had to leave it there.

Hopefully it won’t keep me out for too long and I can get back playing.

My first Preston goal came just under five years after my debut here – it was about this time of year that I played against Coventry in 2013.

Since then I’ve been all over the place, playing for five clubs on loan.

They have all benefited me one way or another and I’m glad to have gone out and experienced other clubs.

I’m not sure if the loan system works for everyone but it has worked for me.

The loans seemed to come just at the right time.

Fleetwood last year was at a stage when I needed to push on and play at a good level, while a few years ago, I needed the York City loan early in my career.

Since coming back from Fleetwood, things have fallen into place for me here at Preston.

Another of my loans came at Newport County in League Two – that was the furthest I had been away and meant I wasn’t coming home too often.

It helped me grow up as a person and is an example that every loan is different.

At the time, Newport were fighting against 
relegation and we really had to battle and scrap.

The pitch wasn’t the best either, with lots of sand on it, but you had to adapt.

This weekend, Newport are playing Tottenham in the FA Cup and the limelight is on them.

I think there are only two lads left from when I was there, while the manager Mike Flynn was first-team coach at the time.

Before going there, I’d had a month at Southport in the Conference. I might only have played five or six games there but again it was what I needed at the time.

This season I have played 21 games for North End and I’m delighted with that.

It would have been a few more but I had my appendix out in October and was out for a time.

I got back playing in about three-and-a-half weeks which wasn’t too bad and I’ve managed to pick up where I left off. I recovered quickly after that operation and I haven’t had any problems since.

Now I’ve got this slight problem with my hamstring to recover from.

I’ll have Tommy Spurr back as competition soon, as he’s on the way back from his knee injury.

In the first few weeks of the season, it was either him or me on the left-hand side of our defence.

We were finding that even if individually we had played well, the gaffer was swapping and rotating depending on who we were playing.

It was a case of trying to take your chance when it came along and staying in the gaffer’s plans.

Obviously I have not had the competition with Tommy for the last few months while he’s been out.

It will be great to have him back to give us another option.