Joel Byrom is raring to go for Tuesday’s friendly against Blackburn Rovers, the fifth game of what has been an impressive pre-season for the midfielder.
Gary Bowyer’s side make the short trip to Deepdale for their penultimate warm-up game of the summer, and while Byrom expects it to be a hard fought encounter, he believes the PNE squad have it in their locker to get a positive result.
“It’s going to be difficult because they’re in a league above but that’s where we want to be pushing ourselves to,” he told PNE.Com.
“We want to be up the top of this league this season and then pushing ourselves towards that next season so it’s going to be a tough test as all of pre-season has been.”
The 26-year-old admits Rovers have some outstanding players in their ranks but is confident North End can match their Lancashire rivals on the pitch.
“They’ve got some good players, Jordan Rhodes scored a lot of goals last year and I presume he will score a lot of goals again this year,” he added.
“But we’ve got a good team and we’ve got plenty of players who can score goals so it’ll be a good game.”
The Lilywhites are now deep into preparation for the new season, having played four friendlies already, and Byrom expressed that the squad are in a positive frame of mind heading into the match against Blackburn.
“It’s good to get everyone back in the squad and have a fully fit squad and everyone getting the minutes because it’s not ideal to miss minutes during pre-season,” he said.
“But I think our squad against their squad will be pretty similar and we’ll be giving them a game in front of the home fans.”
Having scored two goals in four games, it is safe to say Joel is having a positive pre-season – something he has been preparing for since the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
“I think it’s gone well, I’ve managed to keep myself injury free at the back end of last season and I looked after myself over the summer and came back giving myself the best chance,” he said.
“It’s been a really good pre-season on the whole, it’s been structured really well and we’ve got to just keep going now into the season.”
It has been 12 months since Byrom first signed for Preston – much like many of the squad Simon Grayson inherited – and the midfielder admits that things have become easier for the players, the longer they have been together.
“I think it was tough last year with everyone because there were a lot of new faces but think year all the lads know each other and where they play and it’s a lot easier to just bond with everyone,” he concluded.