Preston North End’s former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Paul Gallagher is looking forward to trying to upset his personal friends again this weekend.
The Lilywhites’ No.12 grew up in Blackburn and has plenty of Rovers supporting friends and he is hoping it is he that has the bragging rights come Saturday night.
Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of the clash between the east and west of Lancashire Gally said that he was pleased to see our opponents back in the Championship, but was hoping to once again have a positive experience against them.
“It was good to see Blackburn come back up to the Championship as it means there would be a derby,” he said. “I have been lucky enough to play in a few in recent years and had some good results.
“The games are frantic, they are hectic and everyone wants the bragging rights. A lot of Preston and Blackburn fans work together and it is important that way, but we are just focusing on another three points.
“We want back-to-back wins, which would be massive for us and it has felt like a long time these two weeks for the international break. We are all itching to get back out there playing and there is no better game to do it than a local derby.
“I have had good results against Blackburn in the past. Some of my friends gave me stick for sending them down, as I played a pass to Tom Clarke who set up the equaliser at the end, but I told them that over 46 games it was not my fault!
“Your friends want you to do well, but all my friends are Blackburn fans, so they want me to lose and I want to put one over on them.
“It will be a good advertisement for Championship football. It should be a big crowd and we are focused on trying to get another three points.”
The crowd will be the highest of the season so far at Deepdale, with the away end sold out and home stands filling fast and the 34-year-old admits that performances have been good when the atmosphere inside PR1 has risen.
“If you look back over the games where we have had big attendances, we have had some good performances and done really well in some big games,” he continued.
“We need to get in the mindset of whatever the attendance is, we have to go and try and win games.
“It has been a joy in the last couple of months to get out there and play, to go out there and enjoy ourselves again. We all know in the changing room we didn’t start as well as we wanted to, but people are now beginning to see the real Preston North End and it is good.
“It will be a tough game, because Blackburn have come up and fitted back into the Championship really well, but we need to take the game to them. The boys are feeling confident after the last few games.
“We are seven games unbeaten now, which is tough to do in the Championship. Everyone loves this division because it is one of the toughest in the world and you never know who is going to win, so to go seven unbeaten is a credit to everyone involved.”
The team’s confidence is growing with the recent unbeaten run and Gallagher feels they can continue to push on from the platform they have created.
“This team wants to fight together; it is hungry to get better and we have a manager who believes in us and gives us a freedom to go out and express ourselves.
“Over the last few months we have looked to do that and you can tell it by the results.
“When you look at the table, there is not much between a lot of clubs, so this period running up to Christmas and the new year is vital. If we can carry on our form from the last month or two, we can set ourselves up for a good run until the end of the season.
“Maybe in January there might be an addition or two, to add numbers and really go for it, but it is still one game at a time and luckily enough that one is a big one for us – a local derby – and we have to go out there, play with a confidence and a swagger and believe we can get the three points.
“It is nice to see the lads in the dressing room with a smile on their face, because when things aren’t going for you it can be difficult, but we have managed to stay together, grind our way through and play some good football, getting some good results at some tough places and that will stand us in good stead,” he added.