PNE ace banks on luck of the Irish
Greg Cunningham thinks the tide can start turning in Preston's favour after their early-season struggles.
The Lilywhites host Cardiff at Deepdale on the back of a poor first month of form which has seen them lose five of their six Championship matches.
Having competed well in three of those defeats – the second half of Saturday’s loss to Barnsley a point in case – Irish defender Cunningham has not lost any heart in terms of PNE’s ability.
“We are not getting the rub of the green, “ Cunningham told the Evening Post.
“We have done well in games but not just got the goals or been sucker-punched.
“You look at the Derby game, they scored late on against the run of play.
“The same thing happened at the weekend. We have watched the video back of the Barnsley game and we absolutely dominated the second half.
“That is football, you look at Saturday and that is the luck Barnsley are having and that is the luck we are having.
“We are all still confident and if we keep pulling in the same direction, things will come good.
“We have been competing in every single game, it is small margins which are going against us at the minute.
“We are going through a sticky patch but we need to stay positive and we have a good opportunity against Cardiff to make amends.
“Barnsley barely got out of their half in the second half.
“That is the way football goes, it can be a cruel sport..
“I’m sure Barnsley were on the bus home thinking, ‘How did we nick something there?’
“We will keep working hard and make things change.
“Cardiff are next and we need a good result and if we keep the performance level up, the results will come. Cardiff are a good side – we have done our work on them.”
The quick turnaround between Saturday and Cardiff’s visit does not worry Cunningham.
Having just had a fortnight’s break in action while international football took centre stage, the left-back takes a ‘more the merrier’ view of the busy schedule ahead.
“There isn’t a lot of time in the turnaround between a Saturday and Tuesday,” said Cunningham.
“Depending on the result before, that can be a good or a bad thing.
“The boys love matches close together, otherwise we would just be training.
“We love it when the games come thick and fast.
“You can either get a run going quickly or have a chance to make amends for the previous result.
“Physically, you have to look after yourself on the Sunday, do your recovery work, then get some work done on Monday. Different managers prepare in different ways for matches like this.
“On Monday, there is nothing too hectic so soon after the game on Saturday, it is more organisation and shape-work.”
Cunningham is pleased to have been joined in the squad by deadline-day signings Aiden McGeady, Marnick Vermijl and Alex Baptiste.
McGeady introduced himself to the PNE faithful at the weekend with a fine finish in the Barnsley game.
He is someone who is known to Cunningham from days gone by.
The 25-year-old said: “We were delighted to get the new lads in.
“A player of the calibre of Aiden McGeady will give us that trickery.
“You saw from his goal on Saturday what he is capable of doing.
“Aside from his goal, I thought he had a great game and caused a lot of problems.
“He is only going to get better, sharper and fitter.
“We are delighted to have him, Baps and Marnick on board.
“Aiden and myself were in a couple of Irish squads together a few years back, so I know him from there.
“This is a good opportunity for him to show what he is all about.
“He could have stayed at Everton, sat there and trained away but this shows his appetite for the game.”
Cunningham signed a new three-year contract last week.
Having settled well since last year’s move from Bristol City, he is pleased to have extended his stay.
Said Cunningham: “I had all of this season before the previous contract expired so there no real rush. But all the same, it was nice to get it done and dusted and out of the way.
“It is nice when a club wants you, it is when the clock starts ticking on a contract and you don’t hear things that you would start to worry.
“We had a chat over the summer and they said I would be getting a new deal.
“I got on with my work it my agent got it sorted.”