Preston North End defender Ben Davies returned to the side at Elland Road on Thursday evening after a spell on the sidelines.
The Lilywhites’ No.6 looked like he had never been away with another assured performance at centre half against fellow promotion chasers Leeds United and he admitted he had been pushing to get back as soon as possible.
“I have been out for a little while now and I was dying to get back onto the pitch and to come back into a game like that as my first game back was fantastic,” he told iFollow PNE. “It is a great place to play and they are a great side and I thought that we did really well on the night.
“We performed really well and in the first half we were excellent – as we were in the first half of last year’s cup game, but I thought we were to another level.
“We had a few chances and we were good to take one and to come in at half-time a goal up, but they are a good side and they keep the pressure on, so if you don’t keep passing and move the ball up the field it is just going to keep coming back.
“We seemed to sink deeper and deeper and, ultimately, they got the equaliser. It was disappointing the way the goal went in, but they had other chances – they hit the post, had a header and a cut back as well, so they could have scored, but they didn’t and the fact it was a deflected goal was disappointing, but it is part of the game and we will get some during the season I am sure.
“A draw was maybe a fair result, but to hold on for that long and then concede in the 89th minute we are all disappointed in the fact that if we had won it, it would have been deserved.”
The next of the festive fixtures sees Reading come to PR1 and the Barrow-born defender wants the home form to continue against the Royals.
“We have been good at home all season and hopefully we can turn up on Sunday, put in a good performance and start well,” he continued.
“We got beaten by Reading earlier on in the season and we know they are a tough side. When they turn it on, they have some good players, so, although we have just played Leeds – who are arguably one of the best teams in the division – we will be switched on just as much, if not even more, because we don’t want to slip up and lose ground in the table.
“It is a quick turnaround, but it the same for Reading as well, but we just need to do everything we can to play the best and try and get the result.”
Ben also enjoyed being back alongside Paul Huntington for the first time in a while: “Hunts has been brilliant. I remember under the previous manager – when we got promoted – he came in from nowhere and stepped in like he had never been away then and he is more than capable.
“He has been a big part of my development at PNE, having him around and it is great to be back out on the pitch with him and I am really pleased how it has gone for him and how he has come in and done really well,” he added.