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Calum Woods On Exceeding Expectations

17 March 2016

Name the team that won at Wembley in May… go on, see if you remember those 11 starters.

How many have you remembered? How many of you had Calum Woods at left back?

Just to put you out of your misery it was Johnstone, Clarke, Wright, Huntington, Woods; Gallagher, Johnson, Welsh, Kilkenny; Garner and Beckford.

Nine months on and he has become a mainstay of the side. Today will be his 30th game of the season and his 13th in succession and with every game he becomes more and more integral to a Lilywhites side that has exceeded expectations in 2015/16.

He is now also approaching 300 career appearances and therefore is quite an experienced player within the squad and when he sat down with The One And Only at Springfields earlier in the week he admitted that was pleased with the way things were going, both for a personal and team point of view.

“So far it has been a really good season for us,” the Scouser told the official matchday programme. “We know we a really good team and a great team spirit about us and you never know how far that is going to take us.

“We take every game as it comes and just try and make sure we do our jobs properly on the pitch, because if you do that, then you never know what could happen.

“The fact we have done as well as we have without some key players as well is a further illustration of how good that team spirit actually is. We haven’t had a massive squad and some big players have missed games, but we have still got results when many people would have probably written us off.

“I’ve been happy with my own form. I have always said that the more games that I have under my belt, the more you would see from me and that is the same with any player. If you can get a good run of games you get your fitness up, you don’t get as many injuries and I have been really happy with the way things have gone, particularly in the last few weeks.”

The Liverpool-born defender started at Wembley at left back, but it has been on the right hand side of late that he has been a mainstay of the side.

During the first couple of years of his time at Deepdale he has had a small number of spells on the sidelines with injuries, but now playing on that right flank he has had a chance to build his match fitness and sharpness.

And playing the wing back role, which has been a regular thing since the new year, his fitness has had to be at its peak, as the man who turned 29 last month admitted.

“You are playing right up and down the full side, so it is a position you have to be fully fit for,” continued the North End No.15.

“You have to have a lot of energy up and down and you have to be fully fit as it is a role where you have to do a job for the team and play your part at both ends of the pitch, but I really enjoy it.”

The last few weeks Calum has been popping up more and more in the opposition’s final third. Assists have come at home to Huddersfield Town – his last minute cross for Alan Browne – away at Wolves when his cross was pushed out to Adam Reach – and then at home to Sheffield Wednesday when his deep left footed ball from the right allowed Joe Garner to head home the only goal of the game in front of the Town End; and he has also been getting his shooting boots on, a lick of paint away against Brighton and only kept out by man of the match Dorus De Vries at Nottingham Forest.

So is his first goal in PNE colours coming soon?

“Because I have been playing in the wing back role I have been playing further up the pitch, so I have been getting into those positions and this has given me an opportunity to get balls into the box more and get more involved going forward, as well as getting a few shots.

“Unfortunately the one at Brighton hit the bar and didn’t go in, but hopefully in the nest few coming weeks I will get my first goal for the Club.

“Since playing the role I have been involved in more shooting drills in training, but we already do crossing and finishing as well as possession work, but it has to be about getting into the right positions on the pitch when the chances come along.

“In terms of providing assists you always know where Joe Garner is going to be and sometimes Garns makes your crosses look good with the runs that he makes and the way he gets on the end of things, because he is determined to get on the end of stuff and we know how good a finisher he is.

“It is about putting the ball into the areas that cause the opposition the most problems and hopefully someone is on the end of it.”

There are also interviews with Anders Lindegaard, Joe Garner, Liam Grimshaw and Ben Pearson in our latest edition of The One And Only. We also have 11 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.

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