Preston North End goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould returned to the club in the middle of last month and reflected on his first few weeks back at Deepdale.
Speaking to iFollow PNE the former Lilywhites custodian admitted he was immediately excited by the idea of coming back the club when first approached.
“I was really excited from the outset,” he said. “Walking back into the training ground felt like a little bit of a homecoming. The staff – Alex, Tommo [Steve Thompson] and Frank [Frankie McAvoy] have made it very easy to settle in as well.
“When Peter [Ridsdale] rang me up about the opportunity part of the reason I was interested was because it was not someone I had worked with before.
“I have watched Alex’s work from afar and when I have played his teams and that was what excited me. The way he wants his teams to play football and the type of players he recruits, that was a big part in my decision and that has been elevated by recent results and the way we have played, both home and away.”
Walking into Springfields might have been familiar, but so was one face in the goalkeeping conclave: “I had about 12 or 18 months with Connor [Ripley] at Middlesbrough, so I know his personality and I think that will help try and develop Connor into a very very capable goalkeeper for this club,” he continued.
“There are four very different personalities and they all have different strengths. I have enjoyed working with them. You find with most goalkeeping groups that they are hard workers; if they are not, they are highly unlikely to make the grade anyway.
“Declan is very intense around his work, so he sets a high standard, which is good for a No.1 and that is how the young lads, Matt and Michael, can learn off him and Connor.
“One of the things I have identified is that we need to strengthen the young boys up, physically. There are tough demands in this game; they have the height and the size, but there are other ways we can work with them.
“The key is to give them a technical base, so that they go into every game comfortable with the job that they are going to do.”
Since his arrival back in PR1 ‘Gouldy’ has also been impressed by the quality in the squad, but not surprised: “I knew the quality that was here before I came to the club. The games I have been involved with against Preston North End previously, at Middlesbrough, have always been very open, but very technical.
“Some of our first half displays have been very good. You look at the way the lads play, they are in control of the ball – you look at the midfield and the way they rotate and their movement and it must be enjoyable for spectators to watch, because I am enjoying it on the bench and that is not usually a place you enjoy watching football.
“We have played eight games since the start of the season and I think form generally starts to take shape after five. The first few games are always random. We have had a few injuries and this will give time for those to convalesce and hopefully be right for that next set of five games going into the next break.
“We have got a lot of exciting games coming up for the football club. As coaches you rarely see beyond the game that is in front of you. We are ten days out from playing Brentford and we spent the last two days with Alex – who is meticulous in his planning – working out how to combat what Brentford have got and on the other side how we expose them with what we have got,” he added.
Watch the full interview with Jonathan on iFollow PNE for free now by clicking on the video at the top of the page.