Dave Seddon’s PNE press view

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
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Football is one of those sports where we love to make comparisons.

Is Ross Barkley the new Paul Gascoigne, will Harry Kane be the next Teddy Sheringham?

Whether it be Match of the Day or Monday Night Football, you are always going to hear a modern day player being compared to someone from a past era.

The best one for me came from the lips of fictional boss Ron Manager on the Fast Show a few years back.

“Is Ryan Giggs the new George Best, or is George Best the old Ryan Giggs’? mused Paul Whitehouse’s character.

I will throw one a bit closer to home into the mix.

Can Sylvan Ebanks-Blake be Preston’s new Brett Angell?

There could a comparison to be made there, albeit 15 years apart.

Ebanks-Blake signed for North End in the early minutes of New Year’s Day.

While most of the population were rounding off a chorus of Auld Lang Syne and reaching for another drink, the ex-Wolves striker was putting his signature on a contract until the end of the season.

After a successful spell on trial, Ebanks-Blake has been signed to give the PNE front line a helping hand, ultimately to try and push them into the automatic promotion slots.

He probably does not fit the bill of the headline-stealing signing, having been without a club since the summer.

Without a crystal ball, no one knows if any new arrival will go on to do the business.

Some will write him off straight away, as seems to be the case in the modern game where patience is thin on the ground to put it mildly.

Many see it as it is though, a low-risk signing of a player with plenty to offer and a history of scoring goals.

I take you back to Angell’s signing in February 2000 as PNE pushed for promotion from the same division they are in now.

He arrived aged 31 from Stockport County, his career having drifted somewhat after a promising start.

In fact he had been farmed out on loan to Notts County for a short time ahead of coming to Deepdale.

Angell ended-up scoring eight goals in 15 appearances in a Preston shirt – nine of those starts.

He got the winner in an away game at Bournemouth, getting the slightest of touches with his studs to a David Eyres cross.

Two of his goals came in a 3-1 win over Oxford United, another was enough to sink Scunthorpe 1-0.

Angell netted in a 3-2 win over Millwall, the day North End were presented with the Second Division title trophy.

When the celebrations were taken to the south west on the final day of the season, he was on target against Bristol City.

His only goals which did not help bring about a positive result were a brace in a 3-2 home defeat to Colchester soon after his arrival.

Going back to Ebanks-Blake, he is worth a look at and is likely to be joined up front by another signing at some point in January.

Ebanks-Blake, Jermaine Beckford, Kevin Davies, Andy Little and AN Other – is that a strike force sufficient to fire the goals while the return of Joe Garner is awaited?

Time will tell. But at least for the time being, give them the chance to produce the goods.

The wish for all North End fans is that the team can turn the play-off failure of 2014 into automatic promotion in 2015.

Looking back on 2014 as we start the New Year, I’ll pick out some of my individual highlights of the last 12 months.

PNE’s best goal in 2014 does not take much thinking about, Joe Garner getting that particular accolade for his stunner against Rotherham in the play-offs.

Best signing in 2014? I would make that Scott Wiseman. I thought Wiseman had a decent start to his Preston career after joining last January from Barnsley.

The knee injury he suffered at the end of March set him back and he clearly was not fully right when he came back for the last game of the season and then the play-off semi-final second leg.

This season, Wiseman has shown his full worth with some strong performances at right-back. Never judge someone too soon.

The out-of-the-wilderness award has to go to centre-half Paul Huntington, with keeper Thorsten Stuckmann a worthy runner-up.

Huntington went more than nine months without a league start to the current position where he is among the first names on the team sheet.

Stuckmann’s wait was even longer but more understandable given Declan Rudd’s form last season.

Every credit for taking his chance with those giant gloves.