Josh Harrop knows there is more to being a footballer than just what goes on on the football pitch.
The 23-year-old has spent the festive period with his PNE team-mates in the community, calling in on nominated PNE fans who have undergone a hard time for ‘Whites Christmas’ as well as the annual visit to the children’s ward at the Royal Preston Hospital.
While the midfielder is focused on the second half of the Championship campaign, he is the first to say that getting out and about in Preston is important.
“We have a part to play in helping people who have been going through hard times and if we can bring a bit of happiness by turning up at their homes or work place because they support PNE, then we are all more than happy to do it,” he told the matchday programme.
“You find it is a big thing for them and it’s so easy for us to do. Football is a crazy sport as fans can end up loving you for what you do on the pitch and you don’t always realise how much it means to them to see us out and about.
“They do appreciate you and it’s important for all of us to be respectful and spend time with them. I am one of them who always tries to do the best I can, I will always sign autographs and have my photograph taken.
“People do look up to footballers, we are role models, and they spend their hard earned money coming to watch us so it’s important to do the right things and make it worthwhile for them.”
It is definitely worthwhile watching entertaining PNE at the moment, who are one of the top goalscorers in the league, and Josh, who signed from Manchester United in June 2017, believes this season could be the one.
“We are largely a young team and, over the seasons, we have got to know what the Championship is all about and we are all more experienced now.
“We have built up a level of understanding and we know how to get points out of games which we may not have done in the past. In our younger days, we might have been selfish and kept the ball too long and not made the pass but now we all know how each other plays and we have bonded on the pitch.
“I think this season, we have a bit of attitude, but in a good way. We are ready for anyone, we are not scared of any team and we have a lot more confidence. We are ready for every game and know we can beat anyone.”
Josh has found the back of the net five times this season – three in the league – but has had to overcome a niggle in the last month or so.
He says it’s been easy to deal with for him after having to sit out almost the whole of last season with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury.
“I started off the season really well and I was buzzing to get back,” said Josh. “I scored five in ten games and then I just suffered a slight niggle in my hamstring which kept me out for a month.
“Picking up a muscle injury was always something I was wary of as, after being out for so long, there was a time I was playing every Tuesday and Saturday without any rest, it was relentless and, after a year out, my body was still getting used to it all.
“It’s part of the game, injuries and such like. Last year was particularly bad for me but I do try and look after myself. I eat the right things and do the right things and injuries are just pot luck sometimes.
“Now though I am back and raring to go for the second half of the season. Like I say, I am buzzing.”
There’s loads more from Josh, plus interviews and features with David Nugent, Carlo Nash, Jordan Storey and Ronnie Hildersley, amongst others all packed into the programme.
This is another packed full 84-pages, on sale from Tuesday afternoon from the Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office, or from inside and outside the stadium on matchday, still for just £3 per copy.