Coming up against today’s opponents in difficult conditions called for experienced heads this afternoon, and Paul Gallagher praised North End’s application as Sean Maguire and Callum Robinson earned PNE victory at the Stadium of Light.
The No. 12 slotted back into the side this afternoon at the heart of the midfield alongside Ben Pearson - and played a hand in breaking the deadlock as his lovely weighted free kick was met by the head of Sean Maguire who knocked the ball past Lee Camp to send the Lilywhites one up just five minutes into the second half.
“Just before the goal, I was telling Sean to stay out a bit and delay his run because he’s quick enough to get there, if I put it in the area, we’ve got people who want to attack, we had one in the first half where Hunts was disappointed not to have scored, but Seani’s on fire, we knew first half that we had a couple of chances of scoring but he keeps going and it was a great header.
“We knew coming here was going to be difficult, Sunderland are a big club, fighting for their lives and we wanted to start the game quick but we didn’t. We were a bit sloppy but then it was important to get the first goal because where they are in the league and the fans getting on the back - it’s difficult to play in that atmosphere but we did a really professional job and managed to get back to winning ways.
“I think we played in every condition there, but you’ve got to play the conditions and use your man management skills and the experienced players have to get on to the younger players and try and play a certain way because the weather can cause an issue but we dealt with the conditions well today.”
The conditions in the north east this afternoon would have also have been felt in the stands as well as on the pitch today. In bitterly cold conditions. North End were backed by over two and a half thousands supporters who made the journey to the north east in treacherous conditions.
On the support, Gally continued: “The fans came in their numbers, they were loud out there today despite them being quite high up. It’s the first time I’ve played here, it’s a lovely stadium and it was good to give our fans something to shout about.
“They can see how we’re playing. We’re in touching distance of the Play-Offs, hopefully they have a safe trip home with the weather situation but going home with a win makes it a lot better.”
The majority of North End’s squad can enjoy a well earned break now with the International break upon us, and Gally spoke about a potential pivotal period in PNE’s recent history with Alex Neil’s side set to fight to the very end for a Play-Off spot.
“When you’re winning you just want to keep playing,” admitted Gallagher on the break. “But the manager’s got some tough decisions to make now with a fully fit squad almost and we’re relishing it and looking forward to the next eight games.
“A lot of teams will be looking around and thinking we don’t want to play Preston because we’re a tough team to play against but first and foremost, we’ve got to take care of ourselves, and if we win more games than we lose, we’ll be right in there.”
Watch Paul Gallagher’s interview on iFollow now.