Adam Reach started the first game of the season at Deepdale; albeit not in a PNE shirt!
The winger was part of the Middlesbrough line-up that played out a goalless draw in front of the live Sky cameras.
He had made 46 appearances the previous season on the Riverside, but after slipping slightly down the pecking order, the 22-year-old jumped at the chance of regular first team football, rather than warming the bench, a characteristic that many young footballers could learn from in the modern era.
Speaking to The One And Only last week, the Chester-le-Street born left-sided player said his decision to join the Club and then to extend his stay for the rest of the season, was one he didn’t have to think long and hard about.
“The decision to go out on loan is about playing games,” he told the matchday programme. “Although it wasn’t an easy decision, it was the obvious decision for me. The two clubs discussed at length the extension and they were happy with it and as soon as it, so to speak, came across my desk, I pushed it through and wanted to sign.
“At 22, going on 23, it is no good sitting on the bench and not playing. I played just about every game last season, so I didn’t want to fall back in my progression, so I was really pleased to sign again which means that this season I will be getting 30-plus games which is beneficial.
“For my age I have got a lot of appearances, especially in the Championship, which benefits me when I come out on loan, because I know the division and I know the teams and it hopefully also benefits Preston, because of my experience in this league.
“That’s why I wanted to come out on loan and extend the deal, because I want to make as many appearances in this league – and higher – as I can.”
Since his arrival in Preston the record for the Lilywhites has been excellent, but this isn’t something that has surprised the former England U19 and U20 international: “The record for losses since I have been here has been quite remarkable. I think we have only had two or three defeats.
“I wasn’t surprised by the quality of the squad here. There is little difference from a team like Middlesbrough and a team like Preston. Middlesbrough have a lot more money to spend in the transfer window, but they have different aims at the minute. They need to get into the Premier League and whilst Preston should look this season and next season to push on towards the Play-Offs. We are only ten points behind the Play-Offs.
“Those places consist of teams like Hull, Derby and Ipswich, who have a lot of money and we are not too far off that as well.
“If Preston as a team has one weakness, it is probably that we don’t believe in ourselves enough. There have been a few games, like Burnley and Hull, where we have gone out and had no fear and said that if we play, we would win and we did on both occasions and we have done that at places like Brighton as well, but we have to think like that every game, because there is no team in this league we should fear.
“There is no team in this league who will come to Deepdale, or we go to their place and will turn us over.
“When that happened at Huddersfield it was for different reasons, because we didn’t turn up and play, but we shouldn’t fear any team in this league. If we play as well as we can, we should be beating every team in this league as well.
“You can’t let your quality drop even five per cent, because every game is difficult and every team is at in 100 per cent, because they are fighting for the points. At Huddersfield we played some nice football at times, but you can’t be at 80 per cent, because that is not good enough and you will lose the game and that is what happened.
“One of the best things about this Club, since I have been here, is that every time we have had a negative result or a difficult game, is that we have bounced back and this time it has been no different. After that Huddersfield game we beat Hull and then we beat Rotherham and then we made it three league wins on the bounce and hopefully we can keep that going.”
You can read a lot more from Adam, plus interviews with Bailey Wright, Joe Garner, Sam Johnstone, Eoin Doyle and Alan McCormack in our second edition of The One And Only in 2016. 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.