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First Team News

Belief High For Maxwell

3 September 2017

Goalkeeper Chris Maxwell has the belief that this Preston North End team can go all the way in the Championship.

The 'keeper has been in fine form between the sticks so far this season, conceding just one goal from the penalty spot in five league games against the highly-rated sides in the division.

North End sit in seventh place but Maxwell wants to be higher in the table, and feels that there is a buzz around the club at present, and is excited by what is to come under manager Alex Neil this season.

On the start to the campaign, the 27-year-old told the PNE Podcast: "It's fantastic but we want to be higher than that, we don't want to just sit in seventh and just rest on that and say 'oh we've had some great games and conceded one goal in five games against these teams' because we've got room for improvement which is incredible.

"Yes, we can score more goals but I don't think we have to panic because we are creating the chances and playing the teams we have done and how well we've done, we must be excited, the fans must be excited and the media surrounding the club must be excited about what we've got.

"We are only going to get better from that as well so it's really positive at the moment in the dressing room and you sense that around the ground as well and the staff in the offices too. It's good and we just all need to maintain it, we all need to get on board with it, we all need to ride this wave that we are on at the moment and keep up the momentum.

"You never know where it will take us, I know we say we want to improve on last year, which is important and which we should do, but why can't Preston North End get promoted to the Premier League? Why can't we get promoted automatically?

"Teams do it so it's only a matter of time because even before I came to the club 12 months ago, the club has progressed over a number of years and the club is going in the right direction. So it's healthy at the moment, we are in a good place, it's just about everybody taking part and everybody making sure that it continues."

With so many young players in the dressing room, Maxi is one of the more experienced players at the age of 27, but he feels that the team's hunger to succeed is even greater given the number of players determined to impress in the squad.

"It's infectious, that kind of hunger and desire is infectious in the dressing room, we are with each other week in, week out, day after day and we spend so much time with each other that it's going to rub off on everybody.

"If we are all striving for the same thing, we all want the same thing, it's only going to benefit the group. I think the players that the club have recruited over the last few years has been aimed towards young, hungry players and there are a lot of us who are on long term contracts that are going to be here for the next two or three years and we all want the same thing.

"We are giving ourselves the best possible chance to make that a reality and we will keep doing what we are doing, working hard for each other and for the fans and there's no reason why not. Our results show how far we've come and what belief we have got in the squad and it's nothing but good at the moment."

The former Fleetwood Town 'keeper is enjoying his second season at the club after joining from the Cod Army last summer, and having achieved two of his main goals so far, he is now aiming to achieve another by reaching the top flight with North End.

"Just being at the club as a whole has been amazing, we are such a big club but we are also such a small community as well, we are really close and you only have to speak to the fans and they will tell you the history of the club and what's happened previously and it's all really local and we are all buying into that.

"On the field it's been brilliant as well, playing Championship football was a target of mine, to establish myself in the Championship was another target of mine and I like to think that I've achieved that and I just want to push on now and carry out my dream of playing in the Premier League with Preston North End and I really do believe that we can achieve that.

"I believe that we can achieve that with the group of players and what we have got at the moment and I can't describe how excited I am and everyone else should be as well.

"That's not to say we can sit back and say we are good etc. What makes us us is how hard we work on and off the field and how we all dig in and muck in together and grind out results and points and come the end of the season you never know where we will be."

North End are often classed as the underdogs going into games against the so-called bigger teams in the division, but Maxwell feels that's a positive and the squad are happy to prove the doubters wrong.

"I think it works to our advantage, if teams and opposition fans want to write us off and say we aren't very good for whatever reason then let them do it. It's only going to benefit us, their fans are only going to turn on their teams and they are going to expect to beat us.

"It's only proven that if that happens then we are going to take teams by surprise and we are going to get points off big teams so it's a perfect scenario for us and we will quite happily be the underdogs and the dark horse of the league, that is no problem to us because come the end of the season that's what matters."

Maxwell was speaking the PNE Podcast during the international break, when many, particularly PNE supporters, expected him to be away with Chris Coleman's Wales squad given his form over the last 18 months. Despite his disappointment at not making the squad, Maxwell is determined to achieve his dream of playing for his country, and will continue to work hard for his club to make that dream a reality.

"It's something that I have wanted since I was a kid, I was born in Wales, my parents are Welsh, my grandparents are Welsh, I went to school in Wales and lived there until I was 21 when I moved to Fleetwood.

"I'm Welsh through and through, I've played every age group, even the semi-pro team, the U23s when Wrexham were in non-league I've played for them.

"So I want nothing more than to be involved in the senior squad and the worst bit is, I got a taste of it before the Euros and I'm gutted, I'm absolutely devastated I'm not in the squad.

"But I saw a famous quote not long ago saying 'the doubters push me more and make me improve' and I can vouch for that.

"If I'm not in the squad this time then I'm going to make sure that I am in the squad next time, it's a dream of mine and I want to play for Wales it's as simple as that. If it's not my time at the moment, then I've just got to make sure that it is my time next time.

"I can only do what I can do, and I've just got to make sure that I'm performing week in, week out at Preston and enjoying my stuff here which I am and I'm delighted to be doing, and if things like that come along later then great, and if not, then I will just make sure the time after that I am ready."

Hear much more from Maxi, as well as an exclusive chat with Stu Bennett and more on the PNE Podcast here.

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