Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how long you've been a Preston fan?
I'm 17, currently a college student, born in Preston and raised in a little village called Bamber Bridge that is south of Preston. I grew up with football really, I used to love watching it on TV as a little kid and now it's my passion. My very first Preston memories was when my Grandad took me on my first Preston game, around 2007 when I was 7 years old, Hull City at home, I remember it being 3-0 to Preston and I was over the moon to be honest, and that's when my Deepdale days started.
I picked Preston as my team because of obvious reasons, I was born and bred in Preston and my Grandad telling me a lot about Preston as he used to go when he was my age, telling me about what it was like and the stand out players such as Tom Finney, Alan Kelly and so on to list the many notable faces that have played for North End'. I was very intrigued when hearing about their history, and what the club is like now, going on the up after an impressive first couple of seasons back.
Who have been your favourite players?
My favourite players from the time I've been watching Preston is quite a tricky one really. We've had some excellent players come and go. One that stands out is David Nugent. Although he signed in 2005 and left in 2007 and I didn't really see him play from my own eyes, he gave Preston that something. A genius in front of goal and quickly became a fans favourite at Deepdale. It was sad to see him go, as he gave the Preston fans a lot to cheer about.
What's been your favourite era?
The best era we've had is probably the Finney Era. Although that's way before my time, he was said to be one of Prestons and at one point England's all time greats. I picked this era because it speaks for itself really. With Tom Finney scoring 247 goals for Preston in 490 appearances for Preston. Not to forget his loyalty too, sticking with his hometown club despite there being mega money offers from other worldwide clubs, much bigger than Preston at the time.
You have one great coach in Simon Grayson, what's your opinion of Larry?
We went through quite a sticky patch regarding managers after David Moyes left us for Everton in 2002. Having the likes of Darren Ferguson, Phil Brown, Alan Irvine who all had quite short stays at Preston. We were still looking for the right man for the tough job at Preston. But in came Simon Grayson, who Leeds fans will know very well.
Of course Grayson did a fantastic job at Leeds United, producing some top results and being a fans favourite at Elland Road. Also Peter Ridsdale, another Leeds born and bred. Ridsdale became North Ends' chairman in 2011, and has stuck to the task that is running Preston North End and trying to get them as high up as possible. From my point of view, Trevor Hemmings (owner), Ridsdale, Grayson and all the backroom staff have done a tremendous job. To see where we are in the league today with one of the cheapest teams in the league proves it's not all about money.
Which teams will finish in the playoffs?
The teams that I think will end in the playoffs will be what you see today. Huddersfield, Leeds, Reading and Fulham, not in that order but just the teams. Last month, Preston were getting quite high, and it was getting pretty dizzy being that high up in the league, it was an unusual sight to say the least.
All teams in the play offs now are in exceptional form, Fulham do stand out to me. They're just getting on with it and winning them crucial games, and finally overtook Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend. I just don't think Sheffield Wednesday have what it takes to push. For my relegation teams, excluding the already relegated Rotherham, it has to be Wigan and Blackburn. The remaining fixtures for both teams will be tricky. I just can't see them escaping although it being very tight down in that bottom 6.
What has been your team of the season?
My team of the championship would be
RB: Chris Gunter
CB: Lewis Dunk
CB: Pontus Jansson
LB: Paul Dummett
CM: Tom Cairney
CM: Aaron Mooy
CM: Aiden McGeady
LW: Anthony Knockaert
RW: Eiias Kachunga
ST: Dwight Gayle
Manager: Paul Heckingbottom
Name a player you regard as a real prospect?
One for the future for Preston I would say Callum Robinson. He's still young, he's playing some great football at Preston. He's fast, skilful and is a very good play maker. He's bagged quite a few this season and that I think has give him a massive confidence booster.
What are your thoughts of yours and Leeds' 16/17 seasons?
My thoughts on Prestons season is just incredible. It's been a pleasure to follow Preston home and away this seasons, producing some incredible results and playing some very attractive football. Results we wouldn't think we'd get, it just makes this season that something special. I'm happy with where we are as right now, play offs was a massive shout but realistically I don't think that will happen.
As for Leeds, there's been a massive difference. Bringing in Garry Monk was a brilliant capture and has done Leeds a massive favour. From finishing 16th last season to being right up in the play offs is brilliant to see, as a team like Leeds, its right for them to be up there.
Prediction for Saturdays game?
For Saturdays game I'm going to go for a draw. 1-1. Scorer for Leeds will be Chris Wood and for Preston I'll go for Daryl Horgan.
We'd like to thank Sam for taking the time to answer our questions and wish him the best of luck for the season. Preston should feel safe in the knowledge that they have one of the best managers in the division at the helm.
By Keith Ingham
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