Dave Seddon's PNE press view

When the transfer window closed a month ago, there was considerable anxiety among the Preston fans about where the goals might come from.

Friday, 30th September 2016, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:06 pm
Aiden McGeady (second from right) after scoring against Barnsley

The game immediately before trading creased was the 1-0 defeat at Ipswich in which North End had not exactly looked razor-sharp going forward.

Indeed, Jermaine Beckford had limped out of that one by the quarter-hour mark with a strained hamstring, his return still awaited.

With Joe Garner having gone to Rangers, there did not look to be a queue of players who could find the net.

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September’s six games were to yield 10 goals, with a blank drawn in only one of them.

They were spread around seven players, the call for more of the squad to take responsibilty in the final third hitting home to an extent.

Aiden McGeady netted on his debut against Barnsley three weeks ago.

That was followed by the 3-0 win over Cardiff, Tom Clarke, Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill on target.

Then – shudder – came the 5-0 defeat Brentford, a game you would hope will have been a springboard for better.

We had Simon Makeinok’s hat-trick at Bournemouth, one which came out of the blue.

Hugill notched against Wigan the other Friday, then Alex Baptiste and Daniel Johnson got their first goals of the campaign at Birmingham.

The return in front of goal is still off the pace compared with some in the division.

Four clubs have scored fewer – Cardiff, Derby, Ipswich and Fulham.

Aston Villa and Leeds have matched PNE’s 10, with Rotherham and Reading both finding the net 11 times.

Newcastle are the division’s highest scorers with 21.

In North End’s case, things do seem to have taken a turn for the better in the goalscoring department and maybe the goals being spread around is something we will see more of.

Two of the recent goals could have the ‘scruffy’ tag attached to them.

Hugill’s right knee diverted in McGeady’s shot for the winner in the Wigan game.

Then Baptiste’s opener at Birmingham on Tuesday night was superb in its untidiness.

The ball pinged around the goalmouth for what seemed like an age before Baptiste poked it home through a sea of legs at the second attempt.

We would all take a goal like that several times over if it upped the scoring rate.

With any luck, we can be talking about a goal or two when PNE host Aston Villa.

It is more than 42 years since the sides met at Deepdale and that is a lengthy gap.

There was the 2002 League Cup meeting at Villa Park, but in terms of the league you have to go back to the 1973/74 season for when the clubs last locked horns.

In terms of adapting to the Championship, it has not quite happened for Villa yet.

They have spent the kind of money which shows they mean business in trying to regain a Premier League place.

But the Championship offers up its own challenge, with plenty of Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday football which can test the very best of squads and reputations.

Villa’s visit kicks off a month of fixtures for Preston which look challenging to say the least.

Newcastle and Norwich, who came down with Villa, await later in the month – the Magpies are also the opposition in the League Cup.

Brighton and Huddersfield are the first two opponents after the international break.

In a nutshell, that is the current top four of the division.

Much of the football world’s attention this week has been trained on the ‘Football for Sale’ scandal which brought Sam Allardyce’s reign as England boss to a premature end on Tuesday night. The Daily Telegraph’s sting investigation, which is being drip fed, has certainly stirred the pot in relation to the murkier side of our game.

I had a lot of time for Allardyce by reason of him being part of PNE’s fantastic promotion season in 1986/87.

When he got the England job in the summer, it was nice to go through the photo archives and dig out a few snapshots of his time at Deepdale.

But I wanted to shout at the TV when the footage emerged of him discussing ways around third-party ownership with the undercover reporters.

Why meet someone you don’t know to even discuss such a topic? What were his ‘advisors’ thinking?

This week marked 24 years since Allardyce got the PNE caretaker manager’s role after Les Chapman was sacked.

Have events of the past few days ended his time in management for good?