Exclusive Ben Davies Preston North End column: My pride at being captain

It was a great feeling to lead out Preston North End as captain for the first time for the win at Leeds in the League Cup on Tuesday night.

Thursday, 30th August 2018, 5:00 pm
Challenging Patrick Bamford as PNE captain at Elland Road on Tuesday night

It was all a bit unexpected to be honest.

I just walked in the changing room before the game and the gaffer Alex Neil had the armband waiting for me.

He just put it in my hand and I was delighted. It was absolutely brilliant to be honest.

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There are a few extra bits you have to do before the game.

I was speaking to Paul Huntington and asking what you actually have to do. He sorted me out really!

You go into the referee’s room, you’re first out and you shake everyone’s hands just before kick-off

Once all that’s done you’ve then got to concentrate and make sure you do a good job because at the end of the day you’ve got to lead by example.

I need to shout more in general really and organise a bit more than I do at the moment. Having the armband helped in that respect. It shouldn’t, but it did.

I need to use that moving forward to help me be more of a leader.

On Tuesday night it all went well too, everything came together.

The result wouldn’t have been as good without the armband and having the armband wouldn’t have been as good without the result.

Being captain means more to me than it might to others because of how far I’ve come with this club after starting out in the academy.

It’s a proper journey from Under-11s all the way through to the first team and then Tuesday night.

My dad was there at 
Elland Road and he’s the one that’s been supporting me all through the years so I’m 
happy he was there to see it.

It was a big moment for both of us.

As well as being a good night as a skipper, it was a good night as a defender.

The red card changed the gameplan slightly but we worked well as a unit at the back, stuck together and got quite compact.

A few crosses came in but we managed to defend our box quite well really.

A clean sheet on the road is always welcome.

It was a young team but we all recognised that and all knew that we had to help each other more.

Everyone won their individual battles, we covered when we needed to and all in all kept them quite quiet.

It was a really big effort from everyone after the sending off.

Your concentration has to be at 100 per cent because the ball just keeps coming back at you. You don’t get any respite.

I feel for the midfielders in front of me though and the work they’re getting through because you are the one moving them around and telling them where to go so they can make your job easier.

I can’t sleep at the best of times after a night game and the next morning you wake up earlier than you want to.

I was still recovering a couple of days after and needed a nap or two to keep me going.

We made plenty of changes on the night and so did Leeds.

The gaffer has said all along he’s got confidence in his squad and we all know that we’ve got options here.

Whoever the he picks is capable of going out and performing. In some respects you need to accept that he’s going to pick a certain team for a specific game but in other ways you want to make sure you’re the player he picks every week.

It’s just about working hard and fighting for your place.

No matter who played it’s a performance that should breed confidence for us.

Any win does that, especially one where you’ve kept a clean sheet and scored a couple of goals away from home.

We’ve got a big game coming up on Saturday now with Bolton coming to Deepdale. We did well against them last time we played them away from home on Gentry Day in March.

But they’ve got some big strikers and it will be a tough test.

We just need to take the confidence from Tuesday into Saturday.

We’ve lost our last two in the league and need to change the feel, Leeds has done that slightly, but we need to win in the league. If we can take three points into the break then everything looks a bit brighter.

It’s been a frustrating start in a way.

We’ve definitely been in games and just haven’t scored when we’ve needed to.

Then there have been sloppy goals at the other end so there’s room for improvement, which will hopefully come against Bolton.