While disappointed with the loss against Bolton Wanderers, Jack Baxter enjoyed the experience of playing in a Preston North End shirt again.
Jack, who first signed professional terms with the Lilywhites in 2018, had missed the opening stages of pre-season with illness, but made his first appearance in the 1-0 defeat to Bolton.
The fixture at the County Ground in Leyland saw the return of supporters, with 1,100 North End fans in attendance.
Speaking after the game, Jack said: “It’s not a great result, but it’s pre-season, it’s not too much to look into.
“It’s good to be back and it's always good to be playing, especially in front of a crowd. It’s a good experience, especially in a derby, so there’s a lot of positives, we’ve just got to move on from this game.
“Football without fans is nothing, so it’s important to get them back. It brings so much more to the game. It’s much more lively, more entertaining, it’s just so much better.”
Jack, typically a central midfielder, played as a left wing back in the tie against the Trotters and admitted to being happy to play anywhere on the pitch.
During his loan spell with Cork City last season, Jack played in his more familiar position of midfield and he feels he benefitted from his time in Ireland.
He said: “It was definitely an interesting experience, both being away from home and the football itself. It’s just so much better to be playing again, it’s a lot of learning and a big experience for me.
“Playing men’s football has definitely improved my game. The most important thing for any footballer is to play and I got the chance to play there and hopefully I made the most of it.”
One feature of this pre-season has been the involvement of some of PNE’s younger players, including scholars Josh Seary and Lewis Leigh, and the trust in youth from Frankie McAvoy is something which gives Jack a boost.
“It’s great to see that he’s giving everyone equal opportunities,” he added. “It’s just about how well you take them and what you do with that chance. It’s important that when you get your chance you do well.”