Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

Former North Ender Aiden McGeady celebrates scoring for Sunderland against his former club
Former North Ender Aiden McGeady celebrates scoring for Sunderland against his former club
Share this article

It is time to start calling me Sean ‘Mike Bassett’ Gregan after I took my first steps into the world of football management.

On Sunday, I was named joint manager of Darlington with Brian Atkinson for the rest of the season after our boss Martin Gray left to take the York City job.

It is an exciting challenge and one I’m looking forward to, it is sink-or-swim time.

A manager who was in the limelight at Deepdale over the weekend was Simon Grayson.

This was his first return to North End since leaving to take the Sunderland job in the summer.

He got a good reception from the Preston fans and as I wrote in this column last week, I thought he would.

The PNE faithful are a fair bunch and realised the job Simon had done.

They always gave myself and other former players a good cheer when we came back and it is a nice feeling when that happens.

It wasn’t quite the same thing for Aiden McGeady by all accounts.

He got booed during the game and then celebrated his goal with the run down the pitch towards the North End supporters.

It was probably heat-of-the-moment stuff but he would have got a clothes-line from me had I had been on the pitch!

I’m told the booing came because of an interview he had done last week, part of which the North End fans had not been happy with.

Whatever was said or not said, McGeady should have remembered that Preston gave him a chance to play regular football last season after a bad time at Everton.

Although you want to win every game, I thought it was a decent enough point for PNE against Grayson’s men.

Coming on the back of the 2-1 win at Hull last Tuesday, four points from six against two sides who have come down from the Premier League is not bad going.

That result at Hull was very impressive because I don’t think Hull are a bad side – the fact they went and hammered Birmingham 6-1 on Saturday shows they have something about them.

It is eight unbeaten for North End now, with 20 points taken from their 11 games going into the second international break.

I see that as a very decent couple of months, something for Alex Neil to build on when the games resume.

Neil, I’m sure, will be pleased with how things have been going.

It was a tough fixture list he had in front of him but Preston have come through that and picked up some great results.

He seems to know how to get teams playing and the job he’s doing at North End cannot go unnoticed.

Maybe Neil feels he has something to prove after thinking he was hard done by at Norwich?

In recent weeks, the work he’s been doing has seen the goals start to come.

At the start of the season there were one-nils and nil-nils but PNE seem to have found their attacking flow.

It was good to see Jordan Hugill on the scoresheet against Sunderland and what a finish – no doubt his price tag has just gone up again.