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Jermaine Beckford: "Thank You"

19 March 2016

After making his return to action eight months after his last game, Jermaine Beckford took time out to show his appreciation to his supporters.

The forward came off the bench with six minutes to go, and it seemed to give everyone inside the stadium a boost, especially when Eoin Doyle levelled things up in added time to make it 1-1.

Beckford's last game was in the 1-0 win against Watford in August, and has since had to battle back from a long-term injury.

It's been tough for Beckford by his own admission, but after receiving the reception he did at Deepdale, the number 10 is determined to get back to his best, but conceded that the aim is minutes rather than goals for the centre forward at this stage.

"It’s been eight months and two weeks give or take," said the returning talisman. "It’s a great feeling to be back out on the pitch, and it was a good fight at the end of the game as well.

"The reception was amazing and I couldn’t imagine it being any better; that’s something that you can only dream about a reception like that. I just want to thank everybody that’s supported me and wished me well.

"I’m a striker and I want goals but ultimately my aim this season is not so much how many goals I can score, but how many minutes I can play and I’m looking to build on that for next season."

Beckford's return would have brought the memories back of Wembley last May for those watching on terraces, with the former Leeds man spearheading an attack that saw North End to promotion after scoring a hat trick in the Play-Off final. 

Since then, he's had to watch from the sidelines as the Lilywhites have more than achieved their target of survival, and the marksman was glad to be returning to a side full of confidence.

"Our objective was to stay in this league and I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ve achieved that," continued Beckford. 

"We’re a lot further ahead then we thought we might be so there’s no pressure on me to come in and come back firing especially when we’re playing so well. Today was a great finish by Doyler [Eoin Doyle] as well so it shows we’ve got goals in the team – Jordan [Hugill] has been doing really well too.

"I guess I'm a different option to have on the bench. I like to stretch the play and get physical as you seen out there particularly when you have an outlet. It’s naturally an injection of confidence that flies around as well, so I’m glad that I was on the pitch for the last five minutes. 

"It wasn’t the easiest game to come back into considering how feisty it got out there but as we showed over the course of the season, we’re able to stand toe to toe with anyone in this division, and the management that we have here, they’ve installed a never say never attitude and there’s no pressure for me which is a lot easier. 

For more reaction from this afternoon's game, as North End battled back to claim a point, head to PNE PlayerHD here.

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