Ben Whiteman feels it’s important Preston North End extend their five-game Championship unbeaten run, with a positive performance against Cardiff City on Saturday.
PNE have taken a point each from their previous two outings, against Coventry City and Watford respectively, featuring back-to-back clean sheets for the Lilywhites.
Having been the largely dominant side at Vicarage Road last weekend, midfielder Whiteman returned to the starting line-up for the first time since his red card offence at home to Luton Town.
Despite his absence, paired with an earlier spell on the sidelines through injury, he believes he has now turned a corner and looks forward to the final fixtures of the season.
He said: “I think I mentioned after the game it’s sort of been a stop-start second half of the season for me.
“Picking up little injuries and obviously suspensions, it’s been sort of a tough time but obviously I’m delighted to be back on the weekend.
“It’s been a different time in my football career really.
“I don’t think I’ve missed that many games in my football career to date but it’s one of them – you’ve got to take it on the chin, move forward and, like I’ve said before, I’m delighted to be back involved.”
Facing a Cardiff City side this Saturday at 3pm, the Bluebirds travel to Deepdale just one place above the Championship relegation zone.
With more context though, new manager Sabri Lamouchi – appointed in late January – has won three of his last four fixtures, including a 2-0 Severnside derby victory over local rivals Bristol City last time out.
Ben added: “Yeah, they’re a team fighting, but so are we.
“We don’t want to let the season peter out, we’re all fighting for points and that will be no different come the weekend.
“They are closer to the relegation group but listen – we’re going into the game, wanting to win the game, and hopefully we can do that.”
Saturday’s clash is the only March fixture for North End to be hosted at Deepdale, with further away trips to Rotherham United and Gentry Day at Middlesbrough on the horizon.
This means Ryan Lowe’s side can use the opportunity this weekend to continue their recent improvement on home turf.
Ben said: “We know the home form’s not been great this season but, again, we’ve got five games there to rectify it a little bit, starting with performances and results.
“The first one comes this week and hopefully we can do that.
“Any sort of run in this league can shoot you up the table, so we’re five unbeaten and hopefully we can get a few more wins and see where that takes us.”