Preston North End defender Ben Davies' exclusive PNE column

Last week's win against Nottingham Forest was a good day all round for both the players and our fans who made the trip there in their numbers.

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 5:18 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 8:31 am
In action for PNE

The first half was a bit of a backs against the wall job and to be fair we had quite a bit of defending to do all the way through.

So it felt that little bit more rewarding when we got our goal to win it.

I wouldn’t say we nicked it because we had some other chances in the game.

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There were some scenes in the away end when we were celebrating the goal in front of the Preston fans.

It is miles better when you score in front of your own fans in an away game, it gives them plenty to cheer about.

The fans pay their money and travel all over to see us play and that is very much appreciated.

They will have had a good day out at Forest and our aim is to make sure they have plenty more days like that.

It was important for us to bounce back from the defeat at Birmingham like we did last week.

We had been a good run up until Birmingham, one of a number of good runs this club has put together over the last few years.

We wanted to get straight back on it so that there was no gloom hanging over us.

The gaffer set us up with a good game plan at Forest and it was one which worked out perfectly.

The level of analysis which him and the staff do to prepare for a game is second to none.

They don’t bombard us with information though, it is about the game plan and the individual bits we need in our positions.

The gaffer and staff will know loads of other things about the opposition but it isn’t necessary to pass all of that on – otherwise the focus would be too much on the other team and not us.

When you get the game plan, it is then our job to go and make it happen.

It was good having Tom Clarke back in the team last week, the guy is a warrior and has been in all of the time I’ve known him.

Clarkey will run through a brick wall for you and that is what you want from your skipper.

As you will have seen, he is having to play and train in a mask to protect his broken nose.

He looks scary in the mask but it does the trick of allowing him to get out on the pitch and play.

I think he quite suits it to be fair.

I’m just back from having an injury myself, I missed the Middlesbrough game with a bit of a strain on a tendon in my hamstring.

I was back in the squad and on the bench for the game at Birmingham but the gaffer had a with beforehand and said he wouldn’t put me on unless he really had to.

The injury was one I did about 10 minutes into the win against Blackburn.

We had scored our second goal and when I stretched for the ball I felt something change in my leg.

After that I didn’t really notice it for the rest of the game and got through the game absolutely fine.

The next morning my leg had stiffened up a bit so we got it scanned – that showed it would take about a week to heal.

I was pleased to get back quickly and continue the regular run of games I’ve had over the last two seasons.

After all those loan spells I had, I really feel so much happier, settled and welcome here.

The loans were a big part of my football development and have helped get me to this stage of my career.

Some of the loans were good, some not so, but had they all been good I don’t think I would have learned as much as I did.

I look back at a game for Newport as something of a benchmark.

Before half-time I was substituted and that wasn’t a nice feeling.

I was young, playing in League Two, the other team were doubling up on me and I didn’t ask for help from my team-mates out there.

At half-time the manager said I needed a rocket up my backside!

Sometimes things like that can be a turning point or make you focus that little bit more.

I look out for how the five clubs I went out on loan to – York, Tranmere, Southport, Newport and Fleetwood – have got on,

I also look to see how my home-town team Barrow have done.

I used to go and watch Barrow play at Holker Street with my dad when I was kid, we’d be at all the home games.

My focus is now on our game against Millwall this weekend.

It will be a tough one as they all are, Millwall have a certain style and we will have to work hard against them.