This latest international break seems to have dragged on for ever and a day, and Preston’s return to action against Brighton cannot come soon enough.
It might only have been a fortnight since we last had Championship action to pour over – in particular, PNE’s fine win over Aston Villa – but how slowly time has dragged.
Thankfully, the pace will quicken over the next couple of weeks, a feast of football following the famine.
For North End, they have the division’s top four to play in the next two weeks.
What a twist of the fixture list, that they have such a run of matches.
As the table currently stands, the sequence is fourth, first, second and third.
Brighton, Huddersfield, Norwich and Newcastle in that order – and don’t forget the trip to Toon in the League Cup either.
There are two ways to approach such a run – meet it head on or curl up in a corner and whimper at the thought.
North End should take comfort from their efforts last season against the sides battling it out at the top.
They took points off all the top six, beating three of them in Burnley, Hull and Sheffield Wednesday.
So there should be no sense of trepidation at the matches coming up on the radar.
It might be that they start all of them as underdogs but that can be put to good use.
The victory over Villa is one to draw confidence from.
Yes, Villa were in a bit of a state when they came to Deepdale on October 1 and it proved to be Roberto Di Matteo’s last stand in the technical area.
But the bigger crowd and better atmosphere that generated, served as an inspiration.
One would hope that is also the case at the Amex Stadium, Carrow Road and St James’ Park, so too Deepdale.
I suspect that the full squad will be on high alert this next fortnight to deal with the busy schedule.
The wide use of the player pool worked well last month, the Bournemouth cup win being something of a landmark game for some in the squad.
Chris Maxwell, Ben Pearson, Daniel Johnson, John Welsh and Simon Makienok all used that game to show Simon Grayson what they were about.
Maxwell has been in ever since, Pearson kick-started his season, Johnson and Welsh have since found themselves back in the fold, with Great Dane Makienok getting his first league start on the back of that night’s work.
Could someone else emerge from the pack in a similar manner this time around?
Tommy Spurr has his chance at Brighton with Greg Cunningham sitting the trip out because of suspension.
Will there be an opening along the way for Ben Pringle’s time at PNE to take off?
Fingers crossed, we will get to see Jermaine Beckford sooner rather than later in this run of games.
His recovery from a strained hamstring has dragged on, the striker suffering a setback sometime around the Villa match.
To have the option of a fit and firing Beckford can only be of benefit to Preston.
In his absence, we have seen Jordan Hugill take his chance with three league goals.
Beckford’s injury and the sale of Joe Garner saw a door open for Hugill, one he has pushed at to do well.
During the break from club football, there was England to concentrate on and perhaps that is why time dragged.
Both of their World Cup qualifiers were something of a plod – the Malta game a routine win and the draw in Slovenia somewhat fortunate.
There was the hysteria surrounding Wayne Rooney’s benching for the Slovenia game. Why, I don’t know.
Off his game, Rooney found himself dropped like many other players would be in his position.
It was not the end of the road for him internationally, just a decision by Gareth Southgate to freshen things up and try someone else.
Rooney took the decision well and displayed a maturity at the pre-match press conference.
His exile on the bench lasted only until the second half and it will be interesting to see if the England skipper returns from the start against Scotland next month.
How things shape up on the managerial front, only time will tell.
Southgate seems to be in pole position and it is probably his job to lose at the moment.
He just needs to get England playing with more tempo, have more purpose about them.
It was pedestrian-like in the Malta game at times, with more yawns than cheers in the second half.