Preston North End midfielder Ben Pearson returned to the squad on Saturday, coming off the bench as the Lilywhites defeated Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale.
The North End No.4 played the last 20 minutes of the side’s defeat of the Owls, having missed six games since suffering the injury against Cardiff City in the middle of October.
Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of the visit of Blackburn Rovers to Deepdale the former Manchester United man was glad to be back: “It felt good to be back out there,” he said. “It has been quite a long time since I last played a game, so it was nice to get a few minutes and contribute to a win.
“I had only trained a couple of days before that game, so I felt a little bit rusty, but it was an ideal scenario with them down to ten men, it was a good 20 minutes for me.
“Full match fitness takes a bit of time and with the amount of games we have had, there has been very little training, meaning the injured lads have taken a bit of time to come back.
“Personally, in my position, I don’t need too many minutes under my belt before I can play that full game, it’s about reading the game and doing the little things.”
His return also coincided with the introduction of the artificial crowd noise to Deepdale, something Ben enjoyed: “I remember it at Luton and I personally prefer it. When I was on the pitch, I didn’t notice it as much, but when you are on the bench and warming up, it gives you that little bit of an added atmosphere.
“Small margins in this league count and if it gives you a small percentage edge, then why not? I would say it needs to be a little bit louder, that would be perfect.”
Tuesday’s derby game against the Lilywhites’ Lancashire neighbours is a game that Pearo always looks forward to and even without supporters in the ground, he still believes the game has an extra element to it.
“It gives you that added edge; it is a normal game, but its not the same time,” he continued. “There is normally a bit of extra aggression in most of the games we have played against them and you just want it that bit more psychologically.
“Ever since I have been here, I don’t think we have lost too many, so we have a good record against them. We also got that monkey off our back at home at the weekend, which was nice, so we are looking forward to the game.”
Having spent a month on the sidelines, Ben now hopes to be able to get a good run of games under his belt, with the Wednesday game being the first of 11 matches in 42 days until the start of the new year.
“My biggest worry has been breaking down and then being in and out over these next two months. I needed to make it right, so I was available for these next two months, so I could play in the next ten or 12 fixtures in a row.
“You don’t want to rush it, but you do want to be available for every game that is available and I’ll be making sure that I am ready for the games.
“It has been up and down so far; from the outside it looks quite negative, but we are in the middle of the league, not too far from the teams above us.
“We’ve done okay; we’ve had a lot of players out injured as well – a lot of key players at certain times, which contributes. This league is anyone’s this year.
“There is no easy game and there is no game you can’t win either. In previous seasons there have been the likes of Newcastle, Wolves and Leeds who you knew would be a tough afternoon – this year we expect to win every game, which is tough for us and tough for the fans as well, because when it doesn’t happen, people kick-off, but it is about being level-headed, having the right expectations and knowing you aren’t going to win every game. You just have to take each game as it comes,” he added.
The only place you can watch this Tuesday’s game is on iFollow PNE, when Paul McKenna will be joining Jonathan Breeze for all the action from 7.15pm. Click here now to sign up for a match pass for just £10.