Preston North End full back Darnell Fisher thinks the Lilywhites’ next two games, both at Deepdale, will be even tougher tests without the fans inside the ground to spur them on.
Speaking to iFollow PNE the North End No.2 says that he loves the crowd noise and even loves getting a bit of stick, to motivate him.
“In usual circumstances you would have said we were favourites, with the crowd behind us, being at home, but the crowd is not going to be there and we will have to do what we can,” he said.
“We are looking forward to the games; they are big games, but they are tough games as well. We have Cardiff on Saturday and then Derby on Wednesday. Cardiff have just beaten Leeds, so they will be up for it and we will be up for it as well.
“Fitness wise, the games are a bit different. We have only done two weeks of contact training, so we are not fully match fit, so teams are sitting in and waiting for opportunities and when they don’t have the ball they get back into shape and relax, so it will be tough.
“It was weird playing behind closed doors. It felt more like pre-season or a bounce game that you play at the training ground, but you know there is something at stake and in the back of your head you know it is a Championship game and there is something on it.
“I like the crowd, as you know I get a bit of stick up and down the country, but I enjoy that and it is going to be a bit different when I don’t get a bit of stick. It is what it is though.”
Having only been a substitute last weekend, having missed a few days training in the lead up to the re-start, he says he is back fit, but says for everyone, match fitness is still not fully there, but he is glad to be back training after the difficult mental challenge of being at home alone.
“I feel alright now; I am back fit, back training and I came on against Luton on Saturday. It was a little groin strain; I probably did too much in lockdown, to be honest, but you are always going to get little niggles when you can’t get massages.
“I worked hard, but mostly out of boredom. I was up here on my own, so I had to come in a lot just to fill the day in. We knew it was going to be tough, the season stopped while we were sixth and we know we were going to come back, so we had to come back flying and I wanted to get as fit as possible and I came in and did what I needed to do.
“It was tough being on my own up here – tough mentally, because you are there, with no one to talk to. I was driving down to my sister and the kids at a distance some days, just to fill in the day. I saw the family through the window, but it was a tough time, but it was for everyone.
“My mum has worked in the NHS for over 15 years and it was tough. She was stretched at work, working hard, but credit to them and what they have done.
“What has gone on in this country, and the rest of the world, has been crazy. No one could have predicted what has happened, but we have had to deal with it and carry on.”
With eight games to go, the Play-Off spots and below are very tight and the defender is certainly excited by the challenge: “It is really tight. It looks too tough to call at the moment.
“When you are in the thick of it, with eight games to go, that’s where you want to be. If you are not excited about this, then you are in the wrong line of work – in my opinion!” He added.
Watch the full interview with Darnell by clicking on the link at the top of the page and check out iFollow PNE for all our recent interviews as football resumes.