North End winger Daryl Horgan focused on place in the starting XI
Daryl Horgan says he is using pre-season to '˜knuckle down' and earn a place in Preston's starting line-up.
Only five of the winger’s 23 appearances last season were starts, as he spent the majority of his time on the bench.
Horgan attracted interest from Hibernian earlier this month, with the Scottish club asking about taking him on a season-long loan.
But the Lilywhites would prefer to keep hold of him and the player is keen to fight for his place at Deepdale.
He is with the PNE squad in Ireland this week and has played in both of the pre-season friendlies to date.
“My aim is to force my way into the team here,” Horgan told the Post.
“The plan is to knuckle down, get my head on and work as hard as I possibly can to get myself into the starting XI and to stay in it if I manage to do that.
“It is not easy because there is plenty of competition for places in the squad.
“You saw the two XIs we put out at AFC Fylde on Saturday, both were very strong and that was with a couple of lads out.
“It’s not going to be easy but I’m backing myself to get in.
“Last season there were more substitute appearances than I would have liked.
“Naturally you want to start games rather than come on later when the game is up in the air.
“I just want to play and 24 other lads are the same.”
North End are spending this week at Fota Island and play Cobh Ramblers tonight at Cork’s Turners Cross ground.
Horgan sees the trip over the water as a vital part of the pre-season programme.
The 25-year-old said: “It is a chance to be in your own little bubble for a few days.
“Once we get back we are straight into the games with West Ham and Burnley, then it is down to the last friendly so this is an important week.
“The manager will have his ideas of what he wants from us and this is the ideal time to do all that.
“Being together like this we can focus entirely on training and nothing else.
“You are fed and watered, it’s great and very focused.
“Fota Island is a brilliant place, I was here last year with Preston and have also been with Ireland a couple of times.
“The pitches are nice, the hotel lovely, so no complaints at all.”
Horgan played the first 60 minutes of Saturday’s 6-1 win against AFC Fylde.
North End boss Alex Neil changed the full team after an hour, with those who came on for the last 30 minutes set to start the Cobh game tonight.
The starters will include Sean Maguire who came on to score twice at Mill Farm.
Said Horgan: “I came off, had a shower and in that time Sean had scored twice and hit the post! He’s looking sharp.”