Sean Gregan’s exclusive column: Win against Fulham and Nuge’s goal a good boost
Preston’s win over Fulham in midweek was a great tonic for them and an ideal way to bounce back from the difficult run they’ve been on.
Those four defeats on the bounce without scoring had obviously alarmed the fans and it was something of a worry coming on the back of such a good run.
But they looked a lot more like their old selves against Fulham and you would argue they could have won by a bigger margin.
They had the chances to put more daylight between themselves and the visitors, and in the end it was a bit of a nervy finish.
The highlight of the night was David Nugent scoring his first goal since returning to North End in the summer.
He had to wait a while to do that, mainly because injury restricted his use in the early stages of the season.
Nugent now seems to be fully fit and is a great option for Alex Neil to have at the top end of the pitch.
Okay, they probably aren’t going to be able to play him week in, week out, but his experience will really come in useful.
What you will always get from Nugent is hard work, he’s a grafter.
He’s still got a bit of pace, he can be a pest to play against, and he knows where the net is.
Neil will like Nugent’s experience around the dressing room too, with him able to have a word with the younger players and pass on a bit of advice.
It was a big moment for him scoring on Tuesday night, even at the age of 34,
He would have felt like a young kid again, there’s no better feeling for a striker.
I’m sure Nugent was glad that the goal came at Deepdale. He’s popular with the fans and they were able to see it first hand.
Sean Maguire got the first North End goal against Fulham and that will have given him a boost as he hadn’t scored for a couple of months at club level.
Looking at Maguire’s statistics, he often scores in little bursts so hopefully there are a few more goals on their way.
He’s playing wider this season, doing a job for the team rather than playing as the main striker which I’m sure he prefers.
But if Maguire starts to get on the scoresheet a bit more regularly, he won’t mind where he plays.
Looking at Fulham’s squad they had plenty of talent available, which makes Preston’s win all the more impressive.
That is parachute money for you, they’ve been able to keep hold of a lot of the lads who played in the Premier League last season.
The problem for those clubs coming down from the top flight is when they don’t bounce back up before the paarchute payments run out.
Middlesbrough, the club I supported as a kid, had a bench the other night full of kids because they are having to streamline.
It’s Luton at Deepdale for North End this weekend and hopefully they can back-up the Fulham win with another three points.
A busy Christmas isn’t far away, so a victory over Luton would set them up nicely.