Christian Honoured

Christian Dailly admits there was an element of surprise when he was told he was to captain the side at Preston on Saturday - but insists he was honoured to accept.

"In many ways it was, but I was really flattered to be captain of the club as well as being captain of my country.

"I have captained other clubs I have been at but to be captain here - it was one of the best experiences of my life doing it, I really enjoyed it.

"Stevie Lomas will be captain when he comes back but it was nice to have the opportunity and I want us to be at the top of the table when he comes back."

It was a new look side for Christian to captain, with six players - Anton Ferdinand, under the watchful eye of brother Rio - Rob Lee, Matthew Etherington, Neil Mellor, David Connolly, and Youssef Sofiane - making their competitive debuts for the club and Glenn Roeder admits in the continued absence of Michael Carrick and Steve Lomas: "I am looking to bring in another midfielder as soon as possible."

Christian adds: "It will be a good squad and of course we were missing experience on Saturday. I am optimistic, but Saturday was only the first step.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground and get our heads down to prepare for a big game on Wednesday against Rushden.

"It will be about graft again and there is no doubt that the one thing this team is going to have is battling qualities - that will be important in this league.

"At times we could have kept the ball better than we did and it was probably our battling qualities that got us through in the end, as well as the fitness. I thought their legs had gone a little bit while we managed to keep going."

As a Scotsman used to somewhat cooler conditions, Christian admits it was hard work on Saturday, adding: "It is a big difference to what I am used to, pretty terrible, and as uncomfortable as it is ever going to be - really hot.

"Someone said it was 38 degrees, but we have been training so hard, we are fit enough to cope with it, and that showed."

Before the game there was the now familiar pre-match 'huddle' which the players introduced last season, and Christian says: "We had a chat about it one time and it just feels right when you are out there. We have been such a small squad and there is a real togetherness.

"We live in each others' pockets, travelling all over in that bus and just felt that before the game we needed to get together - but we could do with not conceding a goal as early as that.

"But it was just pleasing to get the win and it is important that we separate ourselves from what is being said and continue to do the job.

"All that kind of thing does is drive us together, it is not going to drive us apart or break the club up.

"We feel closer and more part of it than ever - people can say what they want."