Preston North End veteran Paul Gallagher rolls back the years

Senior figure Paul Gallagher says he is coping well with 90-minute shifts in Preston North End's midfield.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 11:04 am
PNE midfielder Paul Gallagher has started the last six games

He is the oldest player in the PNE squad at the age of 34 but has been clocking up the miles of late.

Gallagher has started six games on the bounce, playing the full 90 minutes in the last five of them.

His last appearance as a substitute came at Ipswich six weeks ago where he scored within two minutes of coming on and then played 20 minutes as a keeper after a red card for Chris Maxwell.

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“Millwall last Saturday was the fifth game on the spin I had played the 90 minutes,” said Gallagher.

“In the first of those I did struggle a bit because I was used to playing 70 minutes and getting hooked off, or I’d be coming on for 20 minutes. I keep myself in good shape, look after myself and I have hardly missed a day’s training this season.

“Sometimes the manager will say have a day inside but I say ‘No’ because I want to be out there – I might be 34 but I’m still learning.

“I want to be out there to set the standards for the younger players.

“I feel fine in the games – as you get older you play with your head a bit more and get the younger lads to do your running.

“As long as I can produce the goods, I will keep going.

“I’m not a stupid lad, if I wasn’t contributing I would be the first to hold my hand up and say give someone else a go.

“When I was coming on as a substitute before this run of starts, I was contributing by creating a goal or nicking one.

“I always felt that I was very involved in the games.”

Gallagher’s appearance in the 3-2 win over Millwall was the 550th of his career.

He provided assists for the first two goals for Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen.

This season and last he has struck up a good relationship with PNE boss Alex Neil, with trust on both sides.

Said Gallagher: “Myself and the gaffer get on really well, he knows he can come and speak with me and I know I can go and speak with him.

“Sometimes he will ask my opinion about things and that is a good relationship to have.

“Over the last couple of months the team has really started to get back to what it was doing last season.

“We’ve got the intensity, the high press, playing on the front foot.

“As everyone knows, we have had players out because of injury but we’ve just got on with it.

“The boys who are injured are still with us for games in the dressing room, wishing us luck.

“I’ve often said that the team spirit here is one of the strongest I’ve known in my time in football.”