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Blackburn rampage puts PNE on the radar - Interview
Thursday, 15th Dec 2022 15:48 by Clive Whittingham

There's caution and realism from our oppo interview Josh McLoughlin this week, and bad defeats to Blackpool and Millwall linger, but Preston's performance at Blackburn last week was as good as you'll see from an away side this season and has lifted North End up to sixth.

How has the season been so far?

Fairly happy overall. The Championship is proving to be a very tight league once again but as things stand we’re in the top six but I can probably count on one hand the number of games I’ve been left really impressed by this Preston side. Form has been hit and miss but after a horrific loss to Blackpool we won three on the bounce and resumed after the break with a fantastic 4-1 away to Blackburn.

Preston league results so far...
Wigan 0-0 Preston
Preston 0-0 Hull
Luton 0-1 Preston Potts 18
Preston 0-0 Rotherham
Preston 0-0 Watford
Cardiff 0-0 Preston
Coventry 0-1 Preston Riis 73
Preston 0-1 Birmingham Colin 16
Preston 1-1 Burnley Storey 15 — Harwood-Bellis 10
Preston 0-2 Sheff Utd Ndiaye 14, McBurnie 75
Sunderland 0-0 Preston
Preston 1-0 West Brom Riis 7
Norwich 2-3 Preston Sargent 2, Sara 76 — Riis 25, 51, Parrott 80
Bristol City 2-1 Preston Atkinson 54, 90 — Hughes 82
Preston 0-2 Stoke Smallbone 58, Campbell 66
Huddersfield 0-1 Preston Cunningham 50
Blackpool 4-2 Preston Yates 30, 81, Patino 61, Hamilton 90 — Whiteman pen 38, Connolly og 89
Preston 2-1 Middlesbrough Riis 35, Storey 90 — Akpom 7
Preston 1-0 Swansea Potts 30
Reading 1-2 Preston Joao pen 71 — Evans 51, 79
Preston 2-4 Millwall Hughes 20, Evans 28 — Flemming 4, 16, 64, Cresswell 72
Blackburn 1-Preston 4 Dack 55 — Woodburn 16, Evans 47, 63, Whiteman 65

What was with the weird spate of 0-0s at the start?

Quite simply our defence and goalkeeper were in excellent form and our strikers were way off it. Liam Lindsay, Jordan Storey and Freddie Woodman have been outstanding all season at the back. Troy Parrott showed some class early on but missed some glorious chances. If we turned a few of those draws into 1-0 wins we’d be in such a good position now.

How's Ryan Lowe done in his first year?

Overall I’m happy with him and I’d say the vast majority of the fan base is. Again after the Blackpool game, questions were asked but we responded well. Lowe has himself admitted he may have got carried away in the summer and hyped the fans up a bit too much. He’s being more realistic now. He’s understood our budget is in the bottom quarter of the Championship but the fans are ambitious as well. The attacking football he promised hasn’t quite been delivered but to be fair to him he’s still been unable to bring in a proper right wing back. Over the course of his year we would average 70 points in a season so you can’t knock that at all.

Any January whispers yet? Much money to spend?

There’s never much to spend, but a couple of additions are always welcomed. The name on everyone’s lips is Cameron Archer. He was great last season and it was hoped he’d come back in the summer. Steven Gerrard kept him on at Aston Villa but he hasn’t been involved much and it seems Unai Emery could let him out on loan in January. The problem is Archer is on a new contract so his wage will be higher plus every club in the Championship and further afield will be keen on him. But we can dream.

Ins >>> Freddie Woodman, 25, GK, Newcastle, Undisclosed >>> Ben Woodburn, 22, AM, Liverpool, Free >>> Robbie Brady, 30, LW, Bournemouth, Free >>> David Cornell University, 31, GK, Peterborough, Free >>> Troy Parrott, 20, CF, Spurs, Loan >>> Alvaro Fernandez, 19, LB, Man Utd, Loan

Everything that wasn’t tied down >>> Tom Barkhuizen, 28, LW, Derby, Free >>> Josh Earl, 23, LB, Fleetwood, Free >>> Tom Bayliss, 23, CM, Shrewsbury, Free >>> Joe Rafferty, 28, RB, Pompey, Free >>> Connor Ripley, 29, GK, Morecambe, Free >>> Jack Baxter, 21, CM, Stafford, Free >>> Ethan Walker, 19, LW, Blackburn, Free >>> Izzy Brown, 25, AM, Royal Preston Hospital, Free >>> Josh Harrup, 26, CM, Northampton, Free >>> Scott Sinclair, 33, AM, Free, Bristol Rovers >>> Paul Huntington, 34, CB, Carlisle, Free >>> Matthew Hudson, 23, GK, Released >>> Jamie Thomas, 25, CF, Released

Stand out players and weak links?

Stand out players would have to be the whole back line. The central defenders have been superb. Lindsay, Storey, Hughes and Cunningham when called upon as well. Woodman has been a terrific signing and it’s great to have him tied down at the club. The form of the rest of the squad has been up and down. Midfield could be more consistent and we haven’t seen the Emil Riis from last season often enough this time round. The weak link at the moment is probably the fact that we had six first team players missing from the squad last weekend which led to four players 18 and under on our bench.

Looked great at Blackburn, has that heightened expectations for the rest of the season? Where do you see this going?

Nobody expected that result, and it really whetted the appetite for the rest of the season. We played high intensity football on the front foot and if we can carry on like that then we’ll a lot more than we lose.

The fans aren’t expecting us to finish in the top six, we’re realistic to know there’s better squads and bigger budgets to head into January with. It’s a crazy league though and you just have to build up momentum and see where it takes you. Hopefully we stay in the top half of the table for as long as possible and then see what happens. Add Cameron Archer into the mix and then fans will be getting excited.

Links >>> Official Website >>> Lancashire Telegraph — Local Press >>> From The Finney — Blog >>> Deepdale Digest — Blog >>> PNE Online — Forum

The Twitter @loftforwords, @Josh_McLoughlin

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CLAREMAN1995 added 19:53 - Dec 16
Is our dream of getting Archer dead now that Beal the traitor has taken on the other Rangers

TacticalR added 12:59 - Dec 17
Thanks to Josh.

Preston looked a really fluid, in-form side against Blackburn, but have also conceded 4 goals twice in their last 6 games. All in all a very Championship team.

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