Alexander’s unbreakable Deepdale bond

Graham Alexander on the touchline at Deepdale

Graham Alexander on the touchline at Deepdale

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Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander admits Preston North End is still a club close to his heart as he prepares for Sunday’s Lancashire derby at Highbury

Alexander played more than 350 games in two spells at PNE, while his assistant manager Chris Lucketti was captain at Deepdale.

for Preston North End in two spells.

Town’s development squad boss Barry Nicholson, goalkeeping coach David Lucas and fitness coach Youl Mawene are all former Preston players.

Alexander added: “It’s hard for me to put into words what Preston did for me in my career and for my life.

“I joined the club 16 years ago this week and it was a massive turning point.

“It was a fantastic club to join and I came back for my final year

“And to score with my final touch (a free-kick to clinch a 2-2 draw with Charlton in April 2012), I couldn’t have written anything any better.

“It was just a superb time in my life and something which will stay with me forever.

“I still live in Preston and have a lot of friends there. I hope that will never change, no matter where my professional life takes me.

“I’d like to think we’ll always have that connection, but when we get to these games the professionalism kicks in and it’s all about winning.”

Alexander received a standing ovation at Deepdale this season and added: “It blows me away. I don’t know what I did to deserve it.

“The feeling is definitely mutual. I’ll definitely never say a bad word about Preston North End.

“It’s a proper, famous, traditional club that does things the right way and treats people the right way.

“I got that even when I went back playing for Burnley. It was a massive worry for me to leave Preston and knowing I’d have to go back there to play, but the response never changed.

“I always went there looking to win but they always treated me in a way which made me very happy.”