There are very few former players who played for both Preston North End and Stoke City who are still as popular as the man we spoke to, to look ahead to this weekend’s game.
In fact, he features elsewhere in our preview, as he scored his third goal for the Lilywhites in their first home win of 2002/03, a dramatic win for North End – a man who is still plying his trade in the Potteries area – Jamaican striker Ricardo Fuller.
One of the most talented and entertaining talents to pull on the lilywhite in the past couple of decades, ‘Ricky’ is always welcome back in PR1 and he was on good form when he spoke to iFollow PNE to look ahead to the game.
He predicted: “It will be a good game as always, one thing for sure the history of goals in the last two or three fixtures has always been exciting.
“We may not have been the winning team on the day but we’ve always had loads of chances, loads of creativity, end to end stuff but yeah I’ll sit on the side. I’m gonna go for a draw, I want to see both teams progress and maybe go on to make it to at least the Play-Offs and who knows, go and get promoted automatically.
“It would be a dream, with all due respect to my Stoke City fans and my Stoke City family, but especially for Preston North End because I know the history.
“I know how unlucky the club has been. Even during my time we never got to push that far, but Claud [Davis] during his time he got to the Play-Off finals and lost out against West Ham I think it was.
“I know about Bolton and all the other Play-Off finals that the club has lost as well, so for Preston fans it’s really not good for all the bad luck they’ve had in terms of reaching the Play-Off finals and not making that step up so I’d really like to see that happen.”
Ricardo found the back of the net on a regular basis during his time at Deepdale, having scored 31 in 63 games, but surely the most memorable of those goals will be the hat-trick he netted in a dramatic 5-3 victory at home to Burnley.
Ricky said: “When you play games for Preston and representing Preston, whenever I come against a team that’s going against Preston say for example their main rivals, I always want to get one over them because that’s who I am.
“I like to win and it was no different. It was special the goals against Burnley because they are Preston’s massive rivals for whatever reason, the location and the rivalry just in general, but me being me I want to be on the winning side.
“I want to do it as classy and as effective as I can. That’s what I did that night and it gave the fans an early Christmas present.”
Fuller certainly hasn’t lost that goalscoring instinct that served him so well during his professional career, taking it to non-league side Hanley Town who he helped to reach the second round of the FA Cup qualifiers thanks to his 85th minute winner from the penalty spot earlier this week.
Ricardo continued: “I’ve always loved to play football from the moment I stepped foot in England, that’s the reason why I’m here, that’s the reason why I came to England to play football and to go on to bigger and better stuff.
“It was a joy to score the winner against Redditch on Tuesday night in the FA Cup preliminary qualifying first round. We’ve won three now on the bounce so it’s good going for us and everybody at the club is elated.
“It’s massive for clubs in non-league to have good FA Cup runs, to put a good run together and who knows what can happen. I’ve always believed in me, I’ve always believed in the team I play for, I always believe in it’s always impossible until it’s done.
“I never give up until it’s done, I never give up no matter what situation, whether I’m playing against Manchester United, whether I’m playing against Chelsea, whether I’m playing against Real Madrid it doesn’t matter. I always believe I can win.”
That winning mentality came to the forefront especially in the 2007/08 campaign when he was part of a Stoke City side who earned promotion to the Premier League.
“The Stoke fans know just as the Preston fans know that I am a person in football who likes to win. I work my socks off, I will never pass a medical but I’ve trained every single day!
“They say that my knee’s injured, I’ve got bad knees and all this, but I have never missed a training session, only except if I’m sick from an illness or something or pick up a really bad injury, but I’ve never missed a training session.
“With those kind of characteristics that I have and me being me, fans absolutely know that I’m a person who wears my heart on my sleeve and give my all for the team and I’m just a person who loves winning because I understand the game.
“I know people of winners, no one likes a loser, and if you’re going to win you’re going to win, if you’re going to lose it’s the way you lose. You lose fighting, not just lose and accept losing and I’m never one to accept losing.
“I’m a person who likes to take my chances. I’m a person who has worked hard for what I have right now. Fair being fair maybe some fans would say I’m unlucky with certain things, I’m probably one of the most underrated players in the game or in England from the Caribbean or whatever when you look at what I’ve done, what I have achieved, but I have never looked back at that.
“I’ve just continued to be me, keep going forward, keep pushing, keep working hard for all the clubs I represent, especially Preston and Stoke City.”
You can watch Ricardo's two favourite former clubs live on iFollow PNE this weekend, when his former team-mate Paul McKenna joins Jonathan Breeze for full match coverage, with replays and graphics on four-camera coverage - click here now to buy a match pass.