EX-PNE SKIPPER SEAN GREGAN’S COLUMN

Jack O'Connell (left) celebrates putting Rochdale ahead in their 3-0 win over Preston

Jack O'Connell (left) celebrates putting Rochdale ahead in their 3-0 win over Preston

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Preston North End’s 3-0 defeat to Rochdale came somewhat out of the blue bearing in mind the great run they had been on in recent weeks.

It surprised me and it seems that things went wrong in every area of the pitch from PNE’s perspective.

The scoreline was out of character in that the defence has generally been strong in recent weeks and scoring goals has certainly not been a problem this season. It is best that a result like this is quickly forgotten and at least they have another game coming up quickly against Swindon.

Sometimes you have games when nothing seems to click.

Your defence struggles, the midfield doesn’t win enough second balls and the strikers misfire.

If one position struggles it can drip down to others and all of a sudden you get a result like this.

Joe Garner hitting the bar at 0-0 was a big moment. Had that one gone in, advantage North End and they would have had their tails up.

As it was, for the second Saturday running they went in at half-time 2-0 down and that will have disappointed Simon Grayson.

They fought back to win against Fleetwood the week before but to expect them to do it again was asking a lot.

At least Preston still sit nicely in the table and it would good if they could make up some ground on Bristol City by getting a result at Swindon.

However disappointing the Rochdale defeat was, the run they were on before that has to be applauded.

Eight wins in a row is great at any level of football and shows what these players are capable of doing.

Sometimes teams can go eight or nine games unbeaten but there are quite a few draws thrown in along the way.

If they were to bounce back with a win at Swindon, you would take nine wins in 10 games with just the one defeat suffered. Win one, lose one, is better than two draws.

The key to a defeat is how you react to it. There is no point sulking for too long and getting too down.

Instead you talk about what went wrong, work on a few things in training and focus on the next game.

While North End have more travelling to do this week to another away game, that is better than having a week on the training ground mulling over what went wrong.

Maybe we should not be too surprised about how well Rochdale did on Saturday – after all they are now up to fourth place in the table.

Keith Hill has done a good job there in his two spells at Spotland, I know him quite well and Rochdale just seems to suit him.

He went to Barnsley for a spell which didn’t quite work out but Keith is not alone in having struggled at that club in recent years.

In each of his two spells, Keith has had a promotion at Rochdale.

He got them out of League Two for the first time in years and then did so again last season.

I noticed that Rochdale have my former Preston team-mate Brian Barry-Murphy on their coaching staff.

Brian was a young kid who came to PNE from Ireland in the 1999/20000 season when we got promoted.

A couple of summers ago he was doing his badges on the same coaching course as myself and it was great to have a catch-up – he’s a good lad.

He was always a quiet lad as a player and I cannot imagine Brian dishing out too many rollickings in the dressing room now that he is player-coach at Rochdale. Best of luck to him.