Paul Gallagher felt it was only a matter of time before Preston North End earned their first home win of the season in the Championship.
North End sealed their first three points of the league season on home turf thanks to Tom Barkhuizen’s superb left-footed effort from the edge of the area, just minutes into the second half.
It was a controlled display from the Lilywhites from that point, seeing out the remainder of the second half for a 1-0 win, with Gallagher coming off the bench at the halfway stage to help his team-mates to victory.
“I think it was only a matter of time before the team picked up a result at home,” North End’s No.12 told iFollow PNE.
“I haven’t paid too much attention to it [the home record] myself, obviously we’ve got to talk about it, but we’re a good squad, a good team, and I knew it was only a matter of time before we won at home.
“It was a tough game today, we knew with Tony Pulis going in at Sheffield Wednesday, they’d be really set-up. I think he had ten days to work with his players, and me working with him previously, I knew if he drilled them into a formation they’d be hard to beat.
“You can see that in the game today, they’re disciplined, physical and hard to beat. Luckily enough, we got the goal when we did and went onto win the game.”
The visitors were reduced to ten men with barely a quarter of an hour played, as Josh Windass was given his marching orders, but Gally highlighted how that can sometimes make opposition defences even tougher to break down.
“Going into the game, we knew they’d come and probably get two banks of four behind the ball and make it difficult. The sending off, sometimes it can be difficult playing against ten men, sometimes it gives the opposition a lift – they want to hang on to something and try to get something on the counter attack or a set play.
“The game changes when the red card happens. It was nothing to do with the boys who came off, they’ve been excellent since they’ve been in the team, it was just different personnel for this game in the second half with them going down to ten men.
“He [Alex Neil] just said to me, ‘Try to control the ball, move it side-to-side, try to open up spaces and play forward’. Luckily enough, we got the goal early on, but I thought we were in control of the game second half.
“There were moments where they did break away and get a corner but I thought we defended our box really well and it was good to get a clean sheet and three points.”
Gally was introduced from the bench at the break and revealed his instructions were to remain patient – but Tom Barkhuizen’s strike in the 48th-minute helped greatly in seeing the hosts take control after the break.
“Barky’s goal was an excellent finish on his left foot – not something you see quite often – but it’s a great strike to win any game. Going into the second half, I thought we needed to be patient, move the ball and bide our time and the opportunities would come.
“The manager made the changes at half-time to try to go out and implement that and we did it and to be fair we got the goal quite early. That makes Sheffield Wednesday have to come out and try to get the equaliser and I thought we managed the game really well.
“We could have showed more quality on the ball but we did what we needed to do and got the home win.”
Crowd noise was introduced for this afternoon’s clash, and while a welcome addition, Gally admitted fans will be particularly missed for the next outing at Deepdale – the midweek visit of Blackburn Rovers for the Lancashire derby.
“Going out for the warm-up, I thought the crowd were here! It was a lot better to play in, it just gives that little bit more atmosphere. You want the real thing, the real fans, but I think that did help the players a little bit.
“It was down to us today, we had to go out there and win the game, no matter how, we just needed to get those three points and we’re delighted to get the three points, that home win and a clean sheet.
“The games against Blackburn are always feisty, good atmosphere, end-to-end, a really good match.
“They’re a good side, they’ve got some good players – exciting players – but I think over the years against Blackburn, since I’ve been here, I’ve had a good result against them all the time. We’ve had a good record and hopefully that will continue on Tuesday night.”
Watch Gally's post-match interview in full on iFollow PNE.