Left back Josh Earl returned to the starting XI for Saturday’s trip to Ipswich Town and admitted that it was another new experience for him, playing with an outfield player behind him in the goal!
The youth team graduate was part of a back like that kept a clean sheet whilst with ten men on the pitch and helped protect Paul Gallagher, limiting hosts Ipswich Town to just one shot on target in the closing stages.
And speaking to iFollow PNE when back at Springfields this week, the No.3 said it was another learning opportunity for him: “It was a difficult game to play in and probably a difficult game to watch at times, but it was a good game for me to play in as a young player,” he said. “We did well to get a draw out of it in the end, but we had the chances to win the game.
“I have never had that experience before of an outfield player having to go in goal, either at youth team level or first team, but when it happens you have to think about it a lot more and try and protect the goalkeeper more than usual.
“We tried to work hard as a unit, stay compact and try and force the ball wide to prevent shots and we did that well. Gally made a great save to keep us in the game, but we defended well.
“Their game plan was to play it forward to the striker and play off him, but we dealt with that well. We won most of our headers and we defended well and it was enjoyable to defend like that.”
The point in Suffolk extended the unbeaten run to six games and heading to the south west this weekend, Earl says the squad want to head into the final international break of the calendar year on a positive note.
“It would be a big boost of confidence to go into the break still unbeaten,” continued the 20-year-old.
“We will aim to get the three points and then take some rest during the break and think about what we need to work on to improve upon to keep progressing.”
Josh came through the Academy at Deepdale, like two in the opposing squad at Bristol City. Bailey Wright is not yet fit to return after a summer operation, but Josh Brownhill should start against North End and are part of a group that the PNE defender has a lot of respect for.
“They are both very good players and they have a good squad. It will be a tough game, but we know what it takes to win games and we want to do that and push higher than we are. We just need to take each game as it comes and do as well as we can.
“We have done well in recent years at Ashton Gate and we need to keep doing what we have done in the past and hopefully get another good performance and win,” he added.
Watch the full interview with Josh on iFollow PNE now.