After leaving Deepdale this evening without what they wanted, Will Hayhurst praised the never say die attitude of the North End contingent throughout the full 90.
Despite pushing and pushing for an equaliser with a lion share of possession, it was looking like one of those days for Simon Grayson’s men, until Joe Garner delivered the goods with an 89th minute strike.
Such as the high standards PNE have set themselves this season, Hayhurst believes it’s two points dropped rather than a point gained despite plenty of positives to take from the game.
Hayhurst, who came on for Paul Gallagher on 76 minutes said “I think we’re disappointed to not come away with a win – we wanted a good start and we created enough chances and played well enough for the win.
“But unfortunately that wasn’t to be but I think in the end we dug deep, and we showed real character to get back in it.
“With all the hype over the new season, everyone obviously wants to impress - we were ready to go with a game plan and I thought we were the best over the 90 minutes.
“You could see the togetherness when we went behind, and the spirit and desire we showed to get back into the game - that will help us over the season because we’ll need that in some games especially away from home, and hopefully when it’s needed we can grind out results and stay together.
“Apart from one or two chances, we didn’t really let them have a chance at goal, but of course they took their chance.
“But in the end it’s not too bad a point with us coming back with that late goal and of course it’s important to not lose your first game - hopefully we can build on this now, and take it to training and pick up some wins.”
The 20-year-old’s late cameo marked his first competitive start for Preston since going out on loan at York City last season.
And having known the surroundings at Preston more than others, Hayhurst has admitted his happiness at returning to the Club.
“It’s great to be back - Deepdale’s a great place full of great fans,” declared the Longridge born winger.
“I’m happy to come on and play, hopefully I can get more game time and push on for some starts but I’m made up to be involved in the squad again.
“I feel like I’ve had a decent pre-season and hopefully I can build on that.
“I’ve got great players up against me though like Gally (Paul Gallagher) Chris Humphrey, Kyel Reid and Lee Holmes but hopefully I can push them and try and get some starts under my belt.
“But we’ve got a good squad here and there’s a lot of competitiveness to get those starting places – everyone that was left out of the squad today is more than capable of starting."
Preston’s number 24 may have been forgiven for thinking he was playing a youth team game in Lilywhite colours this afternoon with four North End academy products at one point on the field along with 19-year-old Alan Browne.
And Hayhurst, who himself made the grade with Preston in 2012 added on the amount of youth team players on the field “It’s good to see and I’m sure the youth team coaches will be proud of what they’ve achieved with us all and it’s great to show that the youth team’s doing good.
“Ben Davies, Bailey Wright, and Josh Brownhill all started today and obviously I came on so it’s great to see we’re bringing through players and hopefully that will continue over the years to come.”