Exclusive Tom Barkhuizen Preston North End column: Home form needs to return

This weekend we are back at Deepdale and it is really important we get our home form back on track.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 16th January 2020, 4:00 pm
Challenging Blackburn left-back Amari'i Bell in last week's derby at Ewood Park
Challenging Blackburn left-back Amari'i Bell in last week's derby at Ewood Park

We have lost our last two home games in the league, so too in the FA Cup.

Until those matches we were going really well at Deepdale and I think teams have seen our home record and set up more defensively.

They have put men behind the ball and looked to hit us on the counter-attack.

With the results we were getting at home until recently, we were confident and naturally became a bit more expansive.

What Middlesbrough and Reading did was to sit behind the ball, be solid defensively, then tried to nick it.

To be fair, it was similar to what we used to do in our away matches and at times that worked a treat.

Breaking teams down when they put a lot of bodies behind the ball is something we have been working on in training.

It does require patience but hopefully the hard work can pay off.

Our home and away form has contrasted a lot this season in terms of results.

Being more confident and attacking at home paid off until recently.

Sometimes the gaffer chose to play with just one sitter because he wanted to go and attack the game.

Perhaps we tried to be too similar away and that left us a bit open, hence we’ve not had as many wins on the road as we would have liked.

At Blackburn last week we looked a lot more solid and brought a point back which might prove to be an important one in time.

Okay, we conceded very early but after that we were pretty solid and they didn’t really have a good chance until right at the end when Declan Rudd made a great save.

In this division, more and more teams are playing differently away than they do at home.

We’ve got a big run of games coming up now – Charlton on Saturday, Barnsley next Tuesday, then seven games in February.

It sometimes feels a bit strange how the season is scheduled. There will be a month when you just play Saturday to Saturday, while in others the games are crammed in.

We get a bit of a break before the February games but then it gets busy and the staff will come up with the right approach to handle that, get the right recovery done in between.

The division is really tight at the moment, a lot of teams are bunched together.

I’m looking at the bigger picture rather than just at recent results. This season, unlike last, we had a really good start and we’ve been able to afford this blip.

Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t want the blip but they do happen in football.

Now is the time to find our form again and get ourselves back in that leading group.

We play Charlton Athletic at Deepdale next and that will see us up against Andre Green who was here on loan.

Andre was a good lad but it was difficult for him here.

He came in and there was a lot of competition. I had a good run at one point and the other wingers showed some decent form on and off.

Andre is a young lad, he’ll learn from the experience he got here even if he didn’t play very often.

He’s a good player, a tricky player, and our full-backs will know they have to play well against him.