Exclusive Sean Gregan Preston North End column: Alex Neil’s side must get over their blip

Following a good run of results Preston North End have had a blip over the past week with defeats at Derby County and Hull City.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Ryan Ledson and Hull City's Callum Elder battle for the ball

When you are doing well, you don’t tend to see results like that coming and they are hard to take.

But you have just got to treat them as a blip, learn from defeats and try to bounce back as quickly as possible.

It seems that injuries played a big part in the heavy defeat to Hull, although not all the blame can be laid at that particular issue. Players missing or not, those who play have to pull together to try and replicate the performances which have carried them up the Championship.

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Alex Neil had to play a couple of lads out of position at Hull, which is never ideal.

You’ve got Ryan Ledson coming in who hasn’t played a lot of football this season and he’s been asked to play as a right-back.

Moving from midfield to full-back is not impossible but it’s still a change and it happened that Ledson came up against a Hull forward line which played very well.

In football you’ve got to try not get too high when you win and not too low if you get beaten. Enjoy the wins, yes, but don’t get too far ahead of yourselves.

If you lose a game at this stage of the season it is not the end of the world.

It’s best to have a blip like this now rather than later in the season when it could so much more damage.

Monday night sees two of my former clubs meet, with North End entertaining West Bromwich Albion at Deepdale.

I loved my time at both clubs and I’ve much to be thankful to them for.

It was always going to need something a bit special to get me to leave Preston and it was Albion’s interest which did it. During my time at North End there had been a lot of interest and maybe a few bids which were turned down. David Moyes was the manager and he simply refused to sell me.

I understood that and loved my time here.

Moyesy got the chance to move on and jumped at it, and during the pre-season which followed him going, the Baggies bid for me.

They had just been promoted to the Premier League and their first game of the season was against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The chance to play in the top flight at those big grounds was something I could not turn down so I took the plunge and moved. Craig Brown had just come in as Preston manager and perhaps the timing was right for us to start afresh.

He could bring in the type of player he wanted and I could have a go at the Premier League.

I had two good seasons with Albion.

Although we were relegated after that first season, I was skipper when they got promoted straight back. After that second season, I only had a year left on my contract and there wasn’t anything on offer.

Leeds came in with a good bid, offered me a longer deal so it made sense to make the move there.