North End’s tenacious midfielder Ben Pearson has enjoyed the pre-season, but is ready to get started with the competitive football this weekend.
The Lilywhites entertain Steve McLaren’s Queens Park Rangers in their opening SkyBet Championship fixture, and the No.4 believes the preparations have been exactly what has been required.
“This is what everyone has been building up to and working towards,” he told iFollow PNE. “The real stuff kicks in now, you get that anticipation of what is to come and I just hope, along with all the rest of the lads, that we start well.
“The start of pre-season is about getting fit and then getting match sharp ready for the first game against QPR. Every game is important and you try your best in all of the – including pre-season – but there is that added pressure this Saturday.
“The pre-season has been good. Everyone has put themselves in the position where they can play, so training will be intense this week, due to everyone wanting to be in the team on the first day, but whoever takes the field will do a good job.”
The competitive nature of the Oldham-born player’s game is oft-mentioned, but he admits that this season he will be trying to control the aggression and keep out of the referee’s notebooks.
“It has been good in pre-season; you get away with a little bit more!” He continued. “My aim is to keep the cards down this season.
“At the start of last season I was getting booked for every little thing I do, but I will be trying to stay out of trouble in the early part of the season and try and get to the first cut off point without being suspended.
“That is a big target for me this season, and part of my game I can improve.”
Ben also feels that the experience of last season is something that the team can build upon and that having the new players in the squad early means they are fully educated as to what is expected from them.
“The majority of the lads have the experience of 40 or 50 games under their belt from last year and that will stand us in good stead for the new season. We are hoping for a positive season again.
“The new lads have been here from the start of pre-season as well and the manager puts across in training what he wants. He has shown two videos of how we play, in and out of possession, which has got them used to their roles and how we play as a team.
“It is beneficial having them in early and we now just have to continue the hard work from last year and improve, as that is the direction we want to be going,” he added.
You can watch more from North End’s popular midfield man, including his thoughts on the role the supporters can play this season, by clicking on the video at the top of the page.