Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

Daniel Johnson is congratulated by Alan Browne, Stevie May and Eoin Doyle after scoring with just 33 seconds on the clock at Brentford

Daniel Johnson is congratulated by Alan Browne, Stevie May and Eoin Doyle after scoring with just 33 seconds on the clock at Brentford

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Preston North End have got themselves into a bit of a rut and need to find a quick way out it before things get too worrying.

One point from the last five league games is not what the fans or Simon Grayson would have envisaged and at times like this, they need to dig deep to get a result.

It is still early days, with eight league matches played but it is not nice to be down in the bottom three at any point of the season and hopefully the climb up the table can begin sooner rather than later.

I do think that North End can get themselves on a run because of the way previous games have gone.

When they have lost, they have not been battered by any stretch of the imagination.

The 2-1 defeat at Brentford was disappointing though, due to the manner of it.

PNE took the lead after just 30 seconds or so but then turned in a poor second-half performance. I know it sounds a bit daft, but sometimes you can score a bit too early.

Don’t get me wrong, you will take scoring at any stage of a game.

But sometimes, it distracts you from your game-plan strangely enough.

That said, it was nice to see Daniel Johnson on the scoresheet once again.

That is three for him this season and the lad certainly seems to be making that step up in division without too many problems.

What I like about Johnson is that he gives you that bit of thrust into the box.

He makes those runs from midfield, joining the attack and his scoring record is good.

Before he arrived, that was the type of midfielder which North End were missing.

I think what Preston are finding at the moment is what a difficult division they have gone into.

Parts of the Championship are almost like a mini-Premier League in terms of the money paid for transfers and wages that some players get.

Seventeen clubs at this level have been in the Premier League at one time or other.

I would say that the step from League One into the Championship is the biggest one to make in the Football League.

Yes, there have been couple of occasions when teams have gone straight through from League One to Championship to Premier League. But that is the exception to the rule.

Clubs have done back-to-back promotions from the Conference into League Two and then League One, or at least done that inside a couple of years.

But that step from League One to the Championship is difficult.

When I was playing, North End got promoted out of what is now League One and then got to the Championship 
play-off final.

Even in that season, we had a couple of ups and downs when we found a particular run of games difficult.

Hopefully, being back at Deepdale this week can get North End up and running properly.

They play Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.

Although no league points are at stake in that, a win would be a massive confidence booster to take into the next league game against Wolves on Saturday.

After Wolves, there is only the away game at Sheffield Wednesday before the next international break comes around.

Fingers crossed that North End start getting a bit more of the rub of the green and that when Joe Garner returns against Wolves from suspension, he can hit the goal trail once again.