Preston North End midfielder Ben Pearson is looking forward to the international break, but is also fully aware of the big game that follows it.
The Lilywhites’ No.4 has been nursed through the recent games, so is grateful of the rest and recuperation time, but it already counting down the days until the fiery environment of the Lancashire derby.
Speaking to iFollow PNE in the down time at Springfields this week, the former Manchester United man said the team were pleased to go into break on the back of a good run and were now looking to continue that into the busy pre-Christmas spell of fixtures.
“It is nice to have changed our form a bit,” said the 23-year-old. “To go seven unbeaten is good in this league. Before the Bristol City game we probably had a few too many draws, but beating Bristol has put that points tally where we want it to be over the last seven games and we are now looking forward to the next seven.
“I’ve been carrying a bit of a thigh injury for a couple of weeks, but I knew we had the Bristol game and then a couple of weeks, so I knew I could rest up for the international break and be ready for the game after the break.”
The Rovers clash, next up, should see the biggest attendance of the season so far inside Deepdale and the Oldham-born man hopes for a packed out home following.
“It will be nice to get straight back into it in a big game,” he continued. “I am sure the following will be good from their side, so hopefully it is a 20,000-plus crowd. It would be nice to have a lot of people through the gate.
“We need to replicate the form we have been on over these last few games. We look a lot more solid at the back now and we have got to grips with knowing when to attack and when to sit behind the ball.
“We have struck that balance that we didn’t have at the start of the season and we have to continue with that and try to push up the league.”
As you would expect with Pearo’s style of play, he doesn't need any extra inspiration to get himself going for a game like this one, and admits that the dressing room is well aware of what these sort of games mean to the supporters and is keen to stress that the players feel the same way.
“When you are at any club you understand what a derby means to the fans, even if you are not from that part of the country, and when you get on that pitch the atmosphere changes and your motivation changes as well.
“If it is a derby for the fans, then it is a derby for yourself and we will be trying very hard to win the game and give the bragging rights to our fans.
“We have to continue playing as we have been and hopefully we can get the right result.
“I treat most games as if they are a derby and I will go into it with the same mentality. I enjoy the occasions when there are more fans in and the atmosphere is more lively, it gets me going a bit more, I tend to flourish in these games and I am looking forward to it.
“You can tell the difference between these games and others. The atmosphere changes and there is more anticipation for the game and that filters through to the players. We have to rise the challenge, not let it phase us and just treat it as any other game,” he added.
Watch the full interview with Ben on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above.