Preston North End defender Andrew Hughes believes the squad have set the bar for performances with their last two games.
The Lilywhites followed up their first point of 2019, at home to Swansea City, with back-to-back wins away at Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City and the Welshman feels they now have to make those sort of results and performances a more consistent product of their endeavours.
Speaking to iFollowPNE as the team returned to their Springfields training base to prepare for the visit of Frank Lampard’s Derby County in front of the Sky Sports cameras this Friday night, the No.16 was delighted with the recent change in fortunes.
“The last three performances have been good,” he said. “Swansea was a positive draw against a good team and then to make it seven points from three games was exactly what we wanted.
“We have been getting all the injured players back, which has been a boost to the squad and the last three games we have set a new standard which we now need to maintain.”
The 26-year-old, in the absence of Paul Huntington and Tom Clarke from the defensive line-up, was the most experienced head in the back four at the bet365 Stadium last Saturday, but says he did not feel any extra responsibility.
“I never thought I’d say that I was the elder statesman of the defence! I was always the young head at the back, but the tables have turned,” he continued.
“I don’t really feel there is any extra responsibility because of that. I look to my right and Ben Davies has played a lot of games – he is an experienced head.
“Jordan [Storey] is playing unbelievable football at the minute and at the other side you have Darnell to complete the back four, with plenty of games. You just have to concentrate on your own game and that is my aim at the minute.
“We were delighted by the clean sheet – it would have been horrible for the game to go 2-1 with five minutes to go, when anything could have happened, so for Dec to make that save and keep it at 2-0 going into injury-time was perfect really.”
Next up sees the media juggernaut roll into PR1, with Sky covering the game live and Lampard bringing his side to Deepdale.
And North End’s left back feels that whilst PNE might not get the full focus of the coverage on the night, he is expecting that if they can repeat the performances they have been putting in of late, then they will certainly give people something to talk about afterwards.
“In a way it is probably not a bad thing that we will go into the game under the radar a little bit.
“People on the outside will probably think that Derby should go and cruise the game, but if you ask anyone inside our camp, we know that isn’t necessarily going to be the case.
“If we can put a performance in similar to the last two or three games, then it should be a great game.
“We need to start looking up now and if we can get another win, to make it three on the bounce, then we will definitely be doing that. We are in a false position and it would be nice to start climbing that table,” he added.