Full back Joe Rafferty is the cover star of Wednesday night’s edition of the matchday programme for the clash with Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough.
Speaking to The One And Only Raff admitted he recently hit his ‘lowest point’ in football – and now he only wants to experience highs at North End.
Looking back at his career, the right back said being released from Liverpool was gutting aged 18 and battling relegation on the final day of the May 2018 season with League One Rochdale was tough.
But the red card against Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale recently was the worst he has felt in football.
Now the 27-year-old is fully focused on staying on the pitch and helping North End climb up the table. He returned for the 3-2 win at Bournemouth and now it’s about focusing on looking up.
“I am still gutted about the red card,” said Joe, who was sent off in the 44th minute which resulted in Blackburn’s first goal from the spot in a 3-0 loss.
“It was horrible being sent off, a nightmare. I was sent off once for Rochdale for two yellow cards and then for PNE against Fulham last season for a high tackle but I felt that wasn’t nasty. They were down to ten men and it felt harsh at the time although looking back it wasn’t the best challenge.
“Against Blackburn, I was obviously stopping their lad go one-on-one with the keeper but I had made a mistake a bit earlier on the halfway line and I was too eager to make up for it and win the ball back. It was the heat of the moment.
“When you see the red card go up, your heart sinks, it’s a nightmare especially as it was a derby game at Deepdale. It was tough enough with 11-men and then, with ten-men, they battered us and it was an awful feeling watching the second half.
“You feel like you have let everyone down and it was the lowest point of my career so far.
“With hindsight, I should have let him run through and see what happened as it’s better to keep 11 on the pitch but you act in that moment.
“It’s weird how football works as the week before, against Sheffield Wednesday, a high tackle on me saw their lad sent off and then the game after, I am shown a red card. I do not want to see another red card ever again.”
There’s loads more from the No.15 in Wednesday’s 84-page perfect bound programme, plus interviews with Alan Browne, Paul Huntington and Jayden Stockley and the programme is available to order now.
The game is live on iFollow PNE, with Jonathan Breeze and former North End skipper Paul McKenna on air just before 6.30pm, for the 7pm kick-off. Click here now to sign up for an iFollow PNE match pass.