Beardsley: I did not achieve what I wanted to at Preston

Chris Beardsley. Photo: Keith Dobney

Chris Beardsley. Photo: Keith Dobney - Credit: Archant

Striker speaks of his ‘fond memories’ of Stevenage on his return to the club

Chris Beardsley says he did not achieve his goals at Preston North End before he left the club this summer and rejoined Stevenage.

The 30-year-old striker signed for Boro for a second time last week after being released by the Lilywhites and in doing so became the 11th acquisition for Stevenage boss Graham Westley.

He joins fellow Boro old boy Ronnie Henry in returning to the Lamex Stadium in this transfer window as Westley attempts to turn around his side’s fortunes after the club finished rock bottom of League 1 last season.

And speaking exclusively to the Comet, the returning striker, who tasted relegation from League 2 last season while on loan at Bristol Rovers, says he has ‘fond memories’ of his previous spell with Boro during which time the club won back-to-back promotions to League 1.

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“[Preston] wasn’t a time I was particularly fond of. The club was evolving, it was trying to be more self-sustainable in League 1 and with that it was difficult to get any momentum quickly,” says Beardsley.

“I’d been out on loan for the majority of last season, and in all honesty I think I played about 15 minutes after then new gaffer [Simon Grayson] came in [the previous season]. It wasn’t a shock to leave; it is football, and you live and learn and move on.

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“I think relegation knocked [a return to Bristol Rovers] on the head. I was signed by John Ward who left with eight games to go and I was then injured for a few of those games and it was a disappointing end to the season.

“Obviously I’ve got fond memories of my time [at Stevenage]. It’s not a different club, but it’s a different team. They are familiar surroundings, but saying that they have got a nice, new fancy training ground and probably the best facilities in League 2.

“If you show a potential signing Bragbury End, it’s a massive selling point. It’s great as a player to work in those surroundings. It’s self-contained in terms of the gym, the ice bath, the physio room, the food area and the match analysis facilities.

“The standard of pitches we have to work on, it’s phenomenal for a League 2 side.”

Beardsley says he can see why Westley decided to re-sign Ronnie Henry – ‘he’s a winner’ – and added that from his experience playing in the division last season compared to when Boro were promoted in 2010, the league is now less physical.

“The one nice thing about Ronnie is he doesn’t change and he’s a massive influence,” Beardsley said.

“He’s a good footballer and consistent and he’s a winner, and wants to win at all costs. To bring someone back to the club who has been successful can only be a positive.

“I don’t think [the league] was as physical as it was back in 10/11 from what I saw last season.

“Back in 10/11 when we first came up we struggled with it, but we found our feet and got promoted.

“I think in League 2 you have to be able to win different ways, and to do that you need a good blend of experience and youth.

“[Graham] is doing exactly that, bringing in youth but also signing a variety of players that are more experienced and know the level.”

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