Dave Seddon's PNE Press View

This season and last, Preston North End have found the Championship very much to their liking.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 24th February 2017, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 12:48 pm
Simon Grayson wants a run of back-to-back wins
Simon Grayson wants a run of back-to-back wins

Consistency has been at the forefront of their approach, with points steadily accumulated.

Only once last season and once so far this, did they lose three league matches on the bounce – both sequences came during slow starts to the respective campaigns.

Heading into Saturday’s Deepdale clash with Queens Park Rangers, North End have lost just four of their last 25 Championship games.

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When you bear in mind that run followed a start of six defeats in the first eight, it represents some turnabout.

The next step for PNE is to turn that consistency into a winning consistency.

In his press conference this week, Simon Grayson pointed to the absence of a lengthy run of wins as he weighed up the chances of his side bridging the gap which exists between themselves and the top six.

His Tuesday night trip across the Pennines to see Huddersfield Town tackle Reading – both to play North End in the coming weeks – may well have prompted his words.

Huddersfield’s win over their top-four rivals was their sixth league victory on the bounce.

It is such a run which any manager yearns for and one similar could yet see Preston gatecrash the play-offs.

Three times this season, Grayson has seen his side win back-to-back league games.

In two cases, a draw came next, in the other a defeat, albeit a slightly unfortunate one to Newcastle.

Wins over Huddersfield and Norwich prior to that loss to Newcastle, formed part of a six-game unbeaten win.

There were four wins and two draws in there, the draw at Brighton none too shabby it has to be said.

But the shares of the spoils still broke up the wins and that is Grayson’s point.

This time last year, PNE put together four victories on the spin – Huddersfield, Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton all beaten.

That is along the lines of what North End could do with at the moment.

In the 2014/15 promotion season, they won seven League One games in a row and later, five on the bounce.

Those five in the second half of the campaign formed a run of eight wins and one draw out of nine.

Doing something along those lines is perhaps the next step of this Preston side’s development as they establish themselves further in the Championship.

Grayson has continually improved the squad and got more out of them in his four years in charge and it seems more winning runs are in his sights.

Watching last week’s 0-0 draw with Wigan, I noticed that none of PNE’s unused subs chose to tuck into a pie or pasty once it reached the stage where they would not be seeing action.

Probably the only thing to pass the lips of Andy Boyle, Anders Lindegaard, Daniel Johnson and Stevie May was a swig of an energy drink.

They seemingly do things slightly differently down at Sutton, with sub keeper Wayne Shaw infamously putting away a pasty as he watched the last few minutes of his side’s FA Cup defeat to Arsenal from the dugout.

You know the story by now, there were odds of 8/1 being offered by the betting company – whose name was on the Sutton shirts – on Shaw being shown eating a pie live on television.

The round bloke came up trumps for those who put a few quid on.

However the public and the gambling commission soon smelt a rat.

It was a grubby affair and reflected badly on Shaw, on Sutton and on the company who offered the bet in the first place.

Shaw got caught up in the circus which attached itself to last Monday night’s tie.

No doubt a decent fella, he got carried away in his five minutes of fame.

However, Shaw’s actions took the limelight away from his Sutton team-mates who put in a very decent display against the Gunners, one which subsequently found itself overshadowed by events on the touchline.

It was not the story 
which the media had initially been looking for when descending on Gander Green Lane.

They had sensed blood with Arsene Wenger under pressure following the 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich.

All we got in the build-up was how small the changing rooms were and would the Arsenal players be able to cope with such cramped conditions?

‘Non-league club has tiny dressing room’ shock – in other news, bears do their business in the woods.

I hope that Lincoln do not get dragged down to the role of circus performers when they go to the Emirates Stadium in the next round – I very doubt they will.

They did the business in a most professional manner when knocking Burnley out at Turf Moor.

Don’t expect to see the Imps sub keeper tucking into a pie, nor the City shirts to carry the logo of the betting firm involved in the Sutton malarkey.

They will have far more class.