John Welsh is now into his fifth season at Deepdale. Signed from Tranmere Rovers back in the summer of 2012, he has gone on to play over 160 games for the Lilywhites.
His die hard attitude and, as one fan put on social media afterwards, the fact he would ‘two-foot his mum for three points’ have made him a fan favourite on the terraces in PR1 and when he spoke to The One And Only during the international break, he felt this was down to his understanding of football fans and the need for a player to leave everything he has out on the pitch after 90 minutes.
“As a footballer you want to play football, it was a slow start, I wasn’t getting much game time and just had to keep plugging away and keep working hard,” he told the matchday programme during breakfast at the Springfields training ground.
“I always had belief in myself that a chance would come along and just keep working hard and keep doing everything right day by day.
“I’ve worked with the gaffer a long time now; I know how he works. I think everyone within the squad has got a right to play and could be picked any time. Players who weren’t in the squad like myself have come in and got in the starting XI.
“It’s about keeping yourself right, keeping your body right. If you deserve a chance the gaffer will be more than welcome to give you it.
“As a football fan that’s what I’d love to see - someone giving 100 per cent. You can’t ask for more than that. Obviously the higher levels you go you expect a bit more and more.
“No matter what club I’ve played for I’ve always wanted to give whatever I could. I’ve been here a long time probably the longest I have been at a club apart from Liverpool, and you sort of get to know the fans and everyone around the place.
“You just want to work hard and play well and do well not only yourself, but your family and for the city. It’s a great city; I’ve enjoyed every minute since I have been here so I go out and give everything I possibly can in each game to put a smile on people’s faces and not to let everyone down.”
Reflecting on the start to the season Welsh acknowledged that the results have not been what the fans, the management or the players have wanted, however, he feels that the international break has provided an opportunity for the No.19 and his team-mates to get some work in and be ready to improve in this next batch of seven games in three weeks.
“It hasn’t been the best of starts for us,” continued the 32-year-old Scouser. “We know we have had a ten day spell where we could put in some good work on the training pitch. I think that’s the only way you can improve is out on the training pitch. The Ipswich game was still be in the back of our minds, but I think with ten days available we were able to put some good work in, whatever we needed, whether be that fitness or rest. We can could get it into each player and look forward to the next lot of games.
“It’s similar to last season we sort of improved as the season went on and we learnt quickly.
“We have always been in games and we’ve always had chances and big moments in games where we can take the lead or get back into a game or draw level.
“I think we’re not a million miles away.
“It’s a tough league and every game is going to be a close game. I don’t think many teams are going to steam roller any other team. I just think we need to keep improving and keep on learning.
“The gaffer has improved the squad bringing a couple of players in so that will help to give us a big boost. It’s just about improving game by game, day by day and as I said we are not a million miles away. It’s just that little tweak of what we need to do and I’m sure we all know what that is.”
You can read plenty more from John in Tuesday’s 100-page edition of The One And Only, plus there are features with Andy Saville, Chris Maxwell, Bailey Wright, Callum Robinson, Ben Pringle, Alan Browne and Anders Lindegaard. The programme will be on sale from Tuesday afternoon from the Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office or from sellers inside and outside the ground on match night.