A new calendar year begins, one filled with hopes and aspirations. What will 2018 bring for you?
For Preston North End, like every other football club in the country, it begins with optimism, that this could be a successful one.
And to start the new 12 months, we sat down with a positive character at Springfields over the festive period to look ahead to it, the Lilywhites’ No.37, Callum Robinson.
With a run of starts in the pre-Christmas games, he admitted that his confidence was high: “We are going out of 2017 doing really well and we are confident,” he told The One And Only. “The gaffer has shown some belief in me, considering I wasn’t in the team. I have come back in now and I am really enjoying it so hopefully I can carry this on, and this form, into 2018.
“He is a different kind of manager to what I have worked with in my short career so far. I have not had loads of managers.
“There is a lot of detail; I have said that in previous interviews, but I am slowly taking it on now and knowing what he wants from me. That is why on a Saturday or a Tuesday I am trying to perform, not just for him, but for the lads, but I am learning as the games are going on - which is a good thing – but learning in a different way with more detail.
“At this moment in time, I would say that he is getting the best out of me.
“I would say that for a lot of attackers you have got to be confident. You are the ones risking the ball, doing certain things, you have got to try different things to try and take on your man.
“I would say I am a confidence player, but I would say that the manager has shown the confidence in me and that I have done well for him.
“I am going to have to risk the ball at times and I might lose it.
“Fans might get annoyed with me at times, but if it does come off, hopefully there will be a goal at the end of it, or a shot or something.
“I am in that position when you are going to have to risk the ball and I can’t just do the simple things. At times you can do the simple stuff, but you need to sometimes thing out of the box in my position.”
The squad at Deepdale may be talked about as a young one, in age terms, but ‘Robbo’ is one of a number in their early 20’s who is now well past 100 senior games and he feels they are developing their game with experience.
“The gaffer has changed that philosophy into the team now where we are high pressing and we are in people’s faces.
“That means we get the ball higher up the pitch and that means we can be effective.
“We have got a really good group at the moment, hopefully we can all stick together and try and do what we want to do by the end of the season and that is get in the Play-Offs.
“It is going to be tough, there are some really good team in there, we know that; but, we will just take it week by week and believe in each other.
“That heart, that desire, wanting to learn, legs, energy; we have got all of that, and with experience from certain players. I think we have got a little bit of everything so hopefully that can help us at some point throughout the season.
“Some people - not that it is bad - but they might think about us ‘are they good enough?’.
“When we go away to other teams they think ‘oh yeah, we should win this’. But if you look at the stats and our results this season, we have beaten some of the best teams in this league, or got a good result against some of the best teams.
“I like being the underdog, because then they don’t know what is coming for them. We will just keep ticking along and hopefully at the end of the season we will get to where we want to get to.
“I know what we have go in our group, so I know that we are not underdogs at all, but if people want to look at us like that then they can do and we will keep going to places and getting results, that is the main thing.”
There is loads more from Callum, plus interviews and features with Kevin O’Connor, Chris Maxwell, Daniel Johnson and former PNE and Boro defender Sean St. Ledger inside Monday’s 100 page edition of The One And Only.
The official matchday programme is now on sale from the Sir Tom Finney ticket office and then from inside and outside the stadium on matchday for just £3, don’t miss out!