It was a very tough decision to turn down PNE for another loan spell in the summer, however, six months on Callum Robinson is back at Deepdale.
The recently turned 21-year-old sat down with The One And Only this week and admits that whilst he didn’t really kick on at Ashton Gate, it was a learning curve that he feels has improved him as a player and given him important lessons if he is to move into the next stage of his career.
The Northampton-born forward burst onto the scene in PR1 with match-winning goals at Leyton Orient and against the Robins who he would later join, as well as an FA Cup hat-trick in front of the BT Sport cameras.
This led to last season’s League One winners taking him to the south west in the summer. Only seven appearances and one goal for Steve Cotterill’s men led to his recall to Villa Park in the winter window before moving to Deepdale.
Reflecting on the experience of that loan he told The One And Only that it has improved his mental strength.
“Coming through the youth systems, I overachieved, so to speak, and earned the right to play in teams that I wanted, but with Bristol City I didn’t really kick on as I wasn’t wanted or needed there, but now I’m so much more mentally stronger off the pitch,” he told the matchday programme. “I now know what I have to do off the pitch and when I do get my chance I know what I need to do to say in it, by working hard for the team and knowing that it’s not all about me, it’s about the team and that’s the main thing.
“Mentally, when I get a little knock now it doesn’t affect me. At Bristol City I didn’t get a lot of game time and it hurt, but now I’ve come out of the other side and I’m stronger for it.
“One I signed back here the manager and coaching staff knew I’d need a few weeks to get up to speed, especially with the Championship, as it’s a level up, so you have to be much fitter and sharper, and I think I’ve done that in the last month or two.
“My sharpness wasn’t too bad, but I needed to work on my fitness; getting my legs stronger in the gym. Most days doing my weights as well so I’ve been working really hard this month and I knew it was going to take a while to get my legs going, but I’m ready now to kick on and play some games.
“I achieved that first aim of getting a start, in the last home game and I was really looking forward to that and now I am targeting then my first goal. I really want to get that out of the way, as it will hopefully mean a few more.
“DJ and I have a goal celebration planned for the next time one of us scores. It’s nothing major, it’s just a little something we’ve planned!”
Having just turned 21, the day the team picked up an excellent point at Derby, the on loan player knows he is at a vital stage of his development as a player.
“I was 21 on 2nd February and it was good to top that off with a point against Derby, but this is the age now where I really want to be cracking on at a high level, and the Championship is a high level, getting in the team, and getting my games in, staying in this league and maybe doing better than that.
“If I can help the team and improve individually that is the main aim; to finish the season on a real high as I haven’t started the season well.
“It feels like I’ve never been away from Preston and I need to kick on. I’ve said in some interviews that the lads are great.
“Last season I worked with these lads day in, day out, and when I came in it just felt like home. The new lads that have come in are really good lads as well so I’ve really been enjoying this month, and working hard to get to where I want to be and I feel like I’m there now.”
There are also interviews with fellow new boy Ben Pearson, Jermaine Beckford, Bailey Wright, Tom Clarke and Alan Browne in our latest edition of The One And Only. We also have 13 pages of content about the visitors and much, much more crammed into the 84 pages of perfect bound content – on sale for just £3 from the Friday afternoon from the Club’s retail store or inside and outside the ground on matchday.