Darnell Fisher has become an unlikely Preston favourite in the last two years.
When Alex Neil took the Preston job in 2017, he quickly realised he needed a right back. Calum Woods had declined from injuries, Marnick Vermijl clearly wasn’t good enough, and loanees Alex Baptiste and Tyias Browning had moved on.
Neil made a bold choice. He snapped up Fisher from Rotherham United in a bargain basement deal, citing that he had eyed up Fisher for Norwich City.
Not only had Fisher been relegated with Rotherham, he had been considered one of their worst players. Millers fans simply couldn’t believe their luck when Preston swooped to land Fisher in 2017.
However, Preston have had the last laugh. Fisher has been a regular under Neil, racking up almost 100 appearances for North End. His disciplinary issues and occasional concentration lapses have been frustrating, but he has been generally solid defensively, decent going forward and committed to winding up opponents.
Fisher’s path to North End has been one less-travelled. He initially came through with non-league side Farnborough, but was spotted by Celtic as a youngster, and headed up to Scotland for a big move.
Fisher made 21 appearances for the Bhoys, but decided to move on for first-team football in 2016 with his move to Rotherham. Still, Fisher remembers plenty about the culture at Parkhead.
Speaking to the Lancashire Evening Post, Fisher has suggested that the demand for intensity is natural at Celtic and doesn’t need to be pushed by anybody, because they’re such a big club.
The 25-year-old noted that it’s a little different at Preston, because it’s manager Neil who pushes everybody for that level of intensity – and Fisher loves the Scot’s approach.
“The intensity we train at is high, there is a big demand on you from the manager,” said Fisher. “I think the demand here at Preston is more intense than I’ve experienced before. The demand at Celtic was there because of how big the club is but that wasn’t really driven by anyone – it was just the size of the place.
“Here, the manager drives the standards and the demand is there from him. If you are with him, you have got his backing 100%. He is the type of manager I like, I get on with him really well and like the training and approach we have,” he added.