Preston North End left back Andrew Hughes is hoping that the squad can quickly hit their straps in 2019/20.
The No.16 feels that when he was at his best last season, just before a hamstring injury ended his campaign, it was helped by the fact that everyone in the squad hit form together.
And he hopes that the same can be done in the opening month of the season: “It was massive for me to be in the starting XI for the first game,” he told iFollow PNE.
“I was working very hard over the summer to get the hamstring right. Luckily, I didn’t need surgery on it, so it was just a case of the healing process working and it now feels good. I now just have to get back to where I was before I got injured.
“Everyone was on the top of their game [when he got injured] and when that happens it is easier for individual players when everyone else is playing well, so the quicker we get everyone at their best, the better it will be for everybody and it will benefit everyone.”
Reflecting on the opening day defeat at Millwall he felt the first goal was always going to be key and had Alan Browne’s effort, that was headed off the line gone in, it would have been a very different game.
“At the time I thought we didn’t really deserve to lose,” he continued. “I felt we didn’t get a lot of decisions, but apart from the chance that they scored, I don’t really remember them creating anything or Dec making any saves.
“I don’t think Browney could have struck it any better and on another day that ends up in the top corner and that was our plan, to get in front and try and make them come out to us, which is when we are more dangerous – on the break – but unfortunately we couldn’t get the first goal.
“It is so early on in the season; you can’t get carried away. You have to stay relaxed. We know what is ahead – a local derby – and hopefully we can have some good support on the game and put things right.”
The side’s record in derbies since manager Alex Neil arrived has been very good and Hughes believes it is a good one to the start the home campaign with, especially if the team can get a big home following behind them.
“We had a good record last year in term of local derbies, but this one is all about getting off the mark, getting some points and hopefully we can get all three.
“Every team will be saying they want to make their home ground a fortress and hopefully we can do that this season, as well as picking up some wins on the road along the way.
“They [the PNE fans] showed on Saturday how good their support is. It was just a shame we couldn’t send them home with something to cheer about, but I am sure we can that this weekend.
“It was very impressive to see so many down [at Millwall] and everyone appreciates that. We know how important it is and hopefully they can keep it up and it will help all the lads.
“It is a good game to start with at Deepdale – a local derby, a good crowd there and it would be a perfect game to get up and running. The first month are all again big teams and there isn’t a team that isn’t a big team in the Championship! If we get off to a good month, it will get the ball rolling,” he added.
Watch the full interview with Hughesy on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above.