John Roper’s Preston North End’s Fans’ Panel verdict: Time to show boys we’re behind them
The sorry story continues for PNE with a fourth successive defeat and the third on the trot away from home.
It was a game in which Preston had their moments but with key players missing once again through injury we were second best to a QPR side who kept a clean sheet at home for the first time this season.
Rangers are not one of the sides that I expect to be challenging at the top of the division this term, and I honestly think if we had the luxury of everybody fit that we would have won this game.
However, confidence is very low on the field at the moment and perhaps now is the time to give some others a chance as Alex Neil has been quite loyal to the majority of the side that got us to the top.
Certainly the skill and guile of Paul Gallagher was missed big time, and the solid defensive pairing of Davies and Bauer was notable by its absence.
But some players looked tired and maybe the time has come for a shuffle round particularly with the front four.
Neil made one change to the side that started against WBA, bringing back Andrew Hughes at left back and moving Joe Rafferty over to the right.
The player left out was Daniel Johnson through injury as North End looked to break the losing sequence.
After a tepid start the home side took the lead with a quarter of an hour gone when a ball over the top found Eze, who had his initial shot saved by Rudd but the rebound fell kindly and the man of the match made it 1-0 to QPR.
Preston were not creating a great deal but were holding their own in midfiled. I have to say that Brad Potts was particularly ineffective and is struggling to find any sort of form at the moment.
The major problem for me was that we did not move the ball fast enough when we were in possession and allowed Rangers to recover their positions.
We dictated play early on in the second half but could not play that pinpoint cross or that telling ball which would have split the home defence.
We looked much better with Nsub David ugent up front and Maguire, Harrop and Bodin behind but it was Rangers who sealed the game in the last 20 minutes when Rudd was adjudged to have fouled when he clearly kicked the ball away first.
Another poor decision but the referee wouldn’t change his mind and Eze put the penalty away with ease.
So the slide continues.
Maybe we all – manager included – kidded ourselves a little when we thought this was a squad strong enough to challenge at the top of the division. The squad is certainly better than it was last season but perhaps we are not quite there yet.
However this is not the time to dismiss this season as there are plenty of games to go.
Now is the time more than ever to get behind the boys and to help them find that winning formula once again and with two home games coming up we have a great chance to show the team that we are right behind them.