Josh Earl believes that everyone associated with the club should be excited heading into the 2018/19 season, players and fans alike.
With the best league position in almost a decade recently secured, with the hunt for the top six going to the final day, a Play-Off spot is the minimum expectation for the Lilywhites next term according to Earl.
Speaking to iFollowPNE, he said: “The fans have been absolutely fantastic all season with the whole group. It’s great to have them behind us for every home game and every away game, it’s been really good.
“Everyone just has to be excited for next season because all the players are, we’re just looking forward to it. We’ve got to set our goals as top six next season.
"We’ve pushed and pushed this season, we’ve played more games now, we’ve gelled together, we’ve gelled with the gaffer and we’re all behind the gaffer.
“So we just have to push and try and get as many wins at the start of the season and push to get in the top six, that’s our goal.”
The 19-year-old emerged as one of the surprise packages of the North End season, stepping in for the injured Greg Cunningham. Although he was a bit of an unknown quantity in the PNE side this year, few will know the club better than the youngster who has been at Deepdale since the age of nine.
“This has been a really exciting season for me and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.
“We’re all disappointed as a group that we didn’t make the final push but these things happen. This will push us on next year and makes us more excited for next season.
“I never expected to get any games at all at Preston but to be on the bench week in week out and get 20 or so games is a big achievement for me.
“I want to play for Preston. I want to play a full season for Preston. Getting 20 games under my belt, under the gaffer, has been really enjoyable and I wouldn’t have dreamed of it.”
On top of the step up into the Championship, Josh had to get to grips with a new position. Having played in the Lilywhites’ youth team as a winger or even a lone striker at times, Earl took to left back brilliantly and was a stand-out performer in the role, with help from his more experienced teammates.
“It was tough, the step up was tough. I’d never even played left back really before this season because I’d always been a winger or a forward even so it was tough.
“I think I’ve adapted to it quite well and the gaffer has helped me. I still have a lot to learn and he’s going to help me learn even more. It’s been a tough one but I’ve enjoyed it.
“All the senior players have been really good with me. They’ve helped me, they’ve taught me, they’ve guided me, they’ve told me when I was wrong and they’ve told me when I was right. So it has been really good playing with them because they have helped me a lot.”
After his first season in the PNE senior squad comes his first off-season in the PNE senior squad. Earl credited his work in the post-season in helping him acclimatise to the senior game and he insists he’ll be working just as hard this time around.
“You have to have a rest. This has been my first professional season, it’s been tough mentally and physically for me.
“I need to have a rest but I will be working very hard in the off-season to get myself back as fit as possible for pre-season and give myself the best chance I can to get back in the gaffer’s thoughts.
“As a young player as well you have to show the gaffer you’re hungry for it and you’re ready for it.”
To watch the full interview with Josh Earl click on the video above.