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PNE land Millwall in FA Cup

Preston North End manager Graham Westley congratulates goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann

Preston North End manager Graham Westley congratulates goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann

London is calling for Preston North End after they landed a tough FA Cup trip to in-form Championship side Millwall.

The visit to the New Den in the first weekend of January was the reward for Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Gillingham at Deepdale.

It wasn’t the money-spinning third-round tie they were seeking.

And with Kenny Jackett’s side unbeaten since late September, North End will have their work cut out on the pitch.

Just once have the two 
clubs met in the FA Cup, back in January 1948 when PNE won 2-1 in South London.

Preston’s progress in the competition means that the league game at Crawley Town scheduled for third-round weekend will be moved to a later date.

Graham Westley had viewed the victory over Gillingham as a job professionally done, first-half goals from Jeffrey Monakana and Stuart Beavon putting them in the hat for yesterday’s draw at Wembley.

While it was a reasonably comfortable win, North End had recalled goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann to 
thank for making two crucial saves.

The first one came from Gills midfielder Romain Vincelot when the hosts were 1-0 ahead, then the German denied Deon Burton in the second half.

Stuckmann’s inclusion at the expense of Steve Simonsen came after he had spent the last eight games on the bench.

Westley told the Evening Post: “In a fairly convincing team performance, he still made two outstanding 
saves.

“The one in the first half I was expecting to see in the back of our net.

“I’ve never seen him hang in the air for so long. His decision to dive, the timing of that dive – the hang and the reach – was absolutely outstanding goalkeeping.

“We have two very good goalkeepers at the club.

“Whichever one is playing and then drops his level, I have got absolute confidence to put the other one in.

“On Friday I said to Steve Simonsen that of the four or five goals we have conceded in recent games – and I don’t want a blame culture here –when he first got into the side he would have made one or two saves.

“Instead the ball has ended up in our net.

“Stucki has reacted to not being in the side by getting his head down and working hard.

“He looked like he was champing at the bit, so I gave him the shirt.”

At the other end of the pitch, Monakana put in another lively performance to earn the praise of his 
manager.

The teenager fired North End into a 12th-minute lead with a shot which caught a deflection off Gills skipper Adam Barrett.

It was an advantage which Beavon doubled seven minutes before the interval, Lee Holmes charging down a clearance from keeper Tommy Forecast to set it up.

Said Westley: “Jeffrey is growing, developing and improving.

“He has learnt to learn, which is important.

“I think that earlier on in the season he saw criticism as something which was there to bring him down.

“He is now learning that criticism can be constructive and is guidance, an opportunity to help him fulfil his potential.

“Jeffrey is a young player ready to make a substantial mark.”

Lee Trundle made a long-delayed competitive PNE debut as a 90th-minute substitute, the striker having been sidelined since July after undergoing knee surgery.

He is likely to be on the bench again when North End visit Bury tomorrow in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

“Lee is up and running now. Part of his rehab was to get a little chance like he got on Saturday,” said Westley.

“He’s not ready to start a game yet but he’s got his debut out of the way and is a Preston player now.”

l Rafael Benitez’s Chelsea will begin their FA Cup defence with a tough-looking all-Premier League tie at Southampton. Perhaps the most attractive third-round tie, though, sends Manchester United to West Ham.

n FA Cup third-round draw: Crystal Palace v Stoke, Brighton v Newcastle, Tottenham v Coventry, Wigan v Bournemouth, Fulham v Blackpool, Aston Villa v Ipswich, Charlton v Huddersfield, Barrow or Macclesfield v Cardiff, Barnsley v Burnley, Man City v Watford, Swansea v Arsenal, Leicester v Burton, Millwall v Preston, Cheltenham or Hereford v Everton, Derby v Tranmere, Crawley v Reading, Aldershot v Rotherham or Notts County, Middlesbrough v Harrogate or Hastings, Accrington or Oxford v Sheffield United, Southampton v Chelsea, QPR v West Brom, Peterborough v Norwich, Lincoln or Mansfield v Liverpool, Bolton v Sunderland, Nottm Forest v Oldham, West Ham v Man Utd, Hull v Alfreton or Leyton Orient, Blackburn v Bristol City, Leeds v Birmingham, Bury or Southend v Bradford or Brentford, Luton v Wolves, Sheff Wed v MK Dons.

 

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