After making his Championship debut last weekend, Lewis Leigh feels he’s just getting started at Preston North End.
The 19-year-old midfielder, who has been at the club since joining as an U14, made his senior bow in August in the Carabao Cup, firstly coming on as a substitute against Huddersfield Town.
Another appearance against Wolves – in the second round of the competition – followed, and he went on to make his debut in the league against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane last Saturday.
“It was a massive moment for me,” he said. “Coming on at Bramall Lane, obviously it’s been a Premier League stadium.
“So to be in front of 35,000 fans, it was a big moment for me just to get the experience. Obviously the result didn’t go our way but it was good to get on.
“Since making that Carabao Cup debut to now making my Championship debut, I feel like I’m just getting started and hopefully I can do many more for the club.
“Hopefully [I can get] regular gametime now. If I get on the pitch at Deepdale then it’s a big positive.
“They [Sunderland] are fighting for Play-Offs and hopefully we can stop that, but to get on the pitch against Sunderland at Deepdale would be a good moment for me.”
When fit, Lewis has been training with the first team almost exclusively this term, however injuries have limited his opportunities.
The midfielder, who is contracted to PNE until 2024, looked to be pushing his way into Ryan Lowe’s plans earlier in the campaign, but an injury picked up during the World Cup break left him sidelined for a long period.
“It was just the worst possible timing,” he said. “I was playing well and getting the injury just set me back three or four months at a crucial stage as well because we had a lot of injuries at the end of the year, so I could have got on earlier in the season and shown what I’m about.
“Last season I did the same thing but in my other ankle so I’ve had a bit of bad luck to be honest with it.
“Hopefully my ankles aren’t glass anymore and they’re strong! But the rehab was good, a lot of strength work, and I feel strong in my body and hopefully I can keep going.”
When Lewis put pen to paper on his first professional deal back in August 2021, he spoke about how much the club meant to him having grown up in the area, and that’s something that’s still special to him.
He added: “To play for Preston is one of the things you dream of, obviously coming up at Preston.
“Hopefully I can stay in and around the squad and get some good minutes under my belt, but if not then a loan deal will probably be where I go.”