Tom Clarke is debating going into management when he eventually hangs up his boots – but admits after seeing the long hours manager Alex Neil gives to the job he is having second thoughts!
The North End skipper is currently taking his UEFA B badge at Deepdale alongside team-mates Paul Huntington, Darnell Fisher and Declan Rudd.
“I am enjoying doing my UEFA B licence - there is me, Hunts, Darnell and Dec, we started it this season,” said the 31-year-old.
“It has been a bit hit and miss as obviously all our main focus is on the games ahead so it’s hard to prepare as you are never quite sure when your day off is.
“You also need to work with the Academy kids to practise ideas so it still ongoing at the moment.
“I would like to be a coach, I am not sure about a manager as I look at how hard Alex Neil works and think about the work he puts in and knowledge he has got and I am not sure!
“I think I will enjoy working with the Academy and with the youth sides, it seems less stressful.”
Tom has seen many players come and go in his six years at Deepdale and praises the PNE recruitment policy. He has been especially impressed with goal scoring midfielder Alan Browne.
“Since I have arrived we have improved every season and that’s obviously thanks to the recruitment we have had.
“The players we have found, you look at the likes of Browney and Seani, who have come from the League of Ireland and have done really well for us.
“It’s players like that who have pushed us on and developed us again.
“Seani has played for a couple of teams in England, West Ham and Accrington, and he had the taste of it and then went to Cork and did really well.
“Browney came here as a young lad, he had the potential but probably no one could have foreseen how well he has done.
“He has taken to the Championship like duck to water and has gone from strength to strength.
“We all knew he had a little bit of bite in him when he arrived, he was never scared to come in with the older lads and train and put a tackle in.
“He can run for days, he is fit, it’s been nice to see his development and 200 games is a great milestone for him.
“Obviously there have been a lot of additions since I have been here. They all have to do the initiation song and then it’s a nightmare trying to organise 30 lads for team bonding sessions as some want to do one thing, others want to do another but most agree eventually!
“The good thing here is the gaffer and staff bring in a good players that want to push us forward, but they also make sure that they have a personality that’s going to fit in with the group. I think it’s been perfect this season.
“You get lads like Joe Rafferty and Jordan Storey who have played games for Rochdale and Exeter respectively and have a lot of experience and are hungry to test themselves at the higher level.
“Then there are the likes of Brandon Barker and Lukas Nmecha from Manchester City. Lukas is in his first loan spell and it’s been good to see him develop in the team and do well.
“Lukas is a character, he isn’t short on confidence, but he has been with the group day in day out since the start of the season and that has brought him on loads.
“These are all lads that have taken us further, developed us a team but also been able to fit in with the group as that’s a big thing.
“It certainly helps my job as captain if they have the right personality to settle in quickly as the knock-on is they will settle in quickly on the pitch as well.
“Then it’s good to still have Gally and Hunts here just to see a familiar faces sometimes!
“Gally is a massive personality and Hunts has been here for a while like me so it’s nice to have their experience to help the younger lads.
“The good thing is we are all eager to learn, even the experienced lads, we still all listen to every word.
“I have been at other clubs where experienced lads are ‘we know what we know’, but we have a good group who all want to learn, to work hard and listen to the manager and implement what he wants and you can see the improvement in the team.
“We are at the next level, we are a Championship team fighting for the Play-Offs and hopefully we can take another step forward.”
There is loads more from Tom in Friday’s edition of the matchday programme, plus interviews and features with many more, including, Tommy Miller, David Healy, Paul Gallagher, Tom Barkhuizen and Josh Harrop.
The 100-page edition of the official matchday programme is still just £3 and is on sale from Thursday afternoon from the club’s Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office and from the sellers inside and outside the ground on matchday, so make sure you pick up your copy.