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Welsh Wants PNE Success

10 June 2013

PNE midfielder John Welsh insists the Lilywhites’ long term goal is to reach the Premier League, starting with promotion to the Championship in the 2013/14 campaign.

The 29-year-old is convinced that the structure of the Club is geared towards top-flight football, highlighting North End’s high standard of facilities.

And the former England U21 international has admitted he is prepared to sacrifice personal gain for the prospect of triumph at Deepdale.

“I want success but at the same time I want the Club to be successful because it’s geared towards that,” Welsh said.

“It was brilliant getting the award [Player of the Year], one of the highlights of my career, but next season will just be about getting promotion.

“I honestly think this Club is Premier League standard. It’s a massive Club and the fan base is unbelievable, the stadium is unbelievable.”

In the meantime though, the former Liverpool trainee is focussed solely on gaining promotion from League One in the 2013/14 campaign, and is under no illusions of just how difficult that might be.

“We’re going to have to work really hard, harder than we did last year,” he said.

“It’s a tough league, on your day you can beat anyone, or you can get beat by anyone else.

“You can’t take notice of form in this league. You get teams who have won five or six really tough games and then someone at the bottom beats a team at the top.

“I think the lads are ready for it though and I think, with the new manager - who knows this league inside out - it excites a lot of people.

“And I think the lads are just as excited as the fans, I can remember after the last game of the season, on the coach, and we were even talking about it then.

“We need to start well and if we start next season how we finished the last one, that’ll kick us right on and put us in good stead.”

One of Welsh’s main reasons for such optimism is the squad’s positive team spirit, something he believes has developed at a supersonic rate over the last 12 months.

“I think when you bring 20 or so players together who don’t know each other or how they play, I think the first season is always going to be a bit up and down, which it was,” he said.

“But the team spirit in the camp is unbelievable, especially for people who have only known each other for a year.

“People have made friends who they will probably be in touch with for life so there is a real good atmosphere within the group.”

And last season’s Player of the Year is looking forward to welcoming new additions to the squad, following the signings of Tom Clarke and Chris Humphrey already this transfer window.

“I think they’re two very good signings, they’re two young lads but they have a lot of experience,” Welsh commented.

“They’ve played for good clubs and had success so I think they’ll bring youth and experience at the same time.

“Humphrey’s got pace and Clarke is an out-and-out defender so I’m sure the lads will thrive on them both.”

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