Preston North End left back David Buchanan is hoping that a good performance against Carlisle United on Boxing Day will put him in the window for action on a more regular basis.
The PNE No.16 started his first league match since victory over Oldham Athletic in September at Deepdale and after an assured display; he is hoping that there is more first team action to come between now and May.
“I am looking to kick on, I am looking to get back in the team, to get a good run in the team,” stated the Northern Irishman.
“When the gaffer first came in, I played the first 20 odd that he was here, we changed formation and Scotty [Scott Laird] came in and done well, the team’s done well.
“I know we all keep saying it, but this team is a tight nit squad.
“We have got a good team spirit, whoever plays we are all behind each other, we all want the same thing, as I keep saying, anybody is good enough to come in from our squad, whether they are on the bench, or in the stand, to start in our team.
“I work hard everyday in training and the gaffer and management have noticed that and it is time for me to have a chance.
“I have come in yesterday [Boxing Day] and I think I have done well, so hopefully I can keep my spot, if not, I’ll just have to keep working hard.”
The Lilywhites head to Greenhous Meadow on the back of a seven match undefeated streak on the road, six of those matches resulting in wins, with only a last minute goal at Crawley Town denying them the perfect seven.
But Buchanan expects a tough test from the Shrews despite what the form book might say.
He continued: “If you look at the form book we would be going into the Shrewsbury game as strong favourites from a neutrals perspective, but every game in this league is a tough game as has shown over the course of the season already.
“People can take points off everybody, you can have good days and bad days, but we are really confident, we are hard to beat away from home, we have a good shape about ourselves, prepare properly for every game and we do our homework on our opposition and that is all working well for us.
“We will be going there after a good win away at Carlisle, a team that were in good form and we will be looking to get three points.
“It is going to be tough; goals change games in football matches.
“The first goal in any game is important and we will be looking to go there, get on the front foot and get right in their faces and hopefully we can get that first goal.
“They are on the back of losing three at home, so if we can get the crowd on their back early doors, it can only be a positive for us.
The festive period brings with it a quick turnaround of fixtures on a regular basis, North End facing five matches in two weeks.
And although that makes preparations difficult, Buchanan insists it is a time of the year enjoyed by the players.
“The preparations are difficult with the quick turnaround, it is all about recovery,” added the full back.
“We are in today [Friday] to do a recovery session, so we have got the massages and the yoga, stretching, just doing everything we can to make sure we are eating right, resting and the way we use our squad helps.
“As I keep mentioning, over the course of a season, anyone in our squad is good enough to play in our starting eleven and I think the gaffer has done that over the Christmas period and it has been working well so far.
“We have got good players at this football club, the gaffer has built a good team, a good squad and hopefully that’s what’s going to stand us in good stead to be right up there come the end of the season.
“Christmas is always a busy period for everybody and if we can keep everyone fit and recover well, utilise the squad, then we should be in a good position going into the New Year.
“I think this period of the year is good for a footballer.
“There is not many training days, so it is always rest, recovery, play a game etc. over and over again, so it is good for a player, because you are just recovering to play.
“A week is a long time for a footballer, if it is Saturday to Saturday, sometimes the week can drag a little bit, so it is all just about recovery, but the Christmas period is always good.
“We took 1,700 up to Carlisle which was magnificent and I’m sure they will be out in their numbers for Shrewsbury, so it is good for them and I’m just hoping we can bring three points back for them.”