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First Team News

Ben Keen To Give Helping Hand After Injury Return

28 September 2023

Ben Whiteman is enjoying being back involved after injury and he’s now focused on helping PNE continue the impressive start to the campaign.

North End’s No.4 missed the final two matches of last season and the opening five of this, before making his return in the home victory over Plymouth Argyle earlier this month.

Having never missed the start of a season in his career, it’s been a frustrating time for the midfielder, but now back to full fitness he’s looking to kick on again.

Ben said: “It’s been a strange summer for me. It was a weird injury, but I’m glad to be back now and trying to help the lads.

“You’ve got a target date in your head with the injury but you have a few setbacks so just to get back out there and get amongst it was obviously a really nice feeling.

“It’s been a great place to be. The start of the season and pre-season was good as well.

“The lads have been flying so the atmosphere’s been class as you’d imagine and hopefully I can help them out.”

Since becoming available for selection once again, the 27-year-old has been named as a substitute in three matches – being used off the bench in all of those.

Given the start the team has had, with 20 points taken from the opening eight fixtures, it was never going to be a case of the former Sheffield United man walking straight back into the team, but instead fighting for a starting place.

He said: “You look at the whole squad now and it’s in a great place.

“If you want to get to where you want to be you have to have a great squad, and I think we’ve got that definitely this year and hopefully we can kick on.

“Everyone’s been on their game as the start shows and competition obviously helps the environment as well. The lads are obviously flying.

“If you look at the games as a whole I think last season we probably would have drawn them or lost them, but this season you’re talking about that sort of added confidence, and the lads have been outstanding and deserved the wins.”

North End will look to continue the unbeaten start to the league campaign this weekend when West Brom come to Deepdale on Saturday.

The Baggies will arrive on the back of just one defeat in their last seven, but Ben is confident the run PNE are on won’t come to an end.

“I think it’s going to carry on,” Ben added. “I think we’re in that mentality now as I mentioned before about the dressing room and vibe around the place at the minute – it’s excellent.

“We’ll take that into the games and look to get a positive result.

“You look at their squad (West Brom’s) as well, they've got a great manager, and it’s going to be a tough game.

“But if you want to be in and around the top of the division you’ve got to be going into that game full of confidence.”

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