Exclusive Sean Gregan column

Callum Robinson pulls the trigger to put Preston ahead in their promotion clash with MK Dons
Callum Robinson pulls the trigger to put Preston ahead in their promotion clash with MK Dons
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I would say that Preston put a big statement out there by beating one of their promotion rivals, MK Dons, on Saturday.

Another clean sheet means they have a remarkable record of six clean sheets in the seven games – that side of things is something which all managers yearn for.

North End have done well to cut the gap on MK Dons and now open up their own lead over them.

It was not too long that ago that MK Dons seemed miles ahead but Simon Grayson’s lads have stuck to their task and put this run together.

After the results in January when nothing seemed to go for them, they could have gone one of two ways.

They could have folded and dropped out of contention or responded with the type of run they are now on.

That, to me, shows there is a strong dressing room at Deepdale with plenty of the right spirit and desire to try and get out of this division.

Such a spirit was shown by them scoring the equaliser late on against Doncaster last Tuesday night.

Obviously, it was not ideal to let a 1-0 lead slip and go 2-1 behind in the space of a few minutes.

But at least Preston showed the desire and attitude to go and get the equaliser.

There was a bit of gloom after the Doncaster game that they had only drawn at home.

However, had they won that one and drawn at MK Dons, I doubt no one would have complained at taking four points from six. North End have done it the other way around, drawing at home and winning away.

Maybe it was a good time to play MK Dons because they were not in the best of form and had a couple of players out injured and suspended.

But they still have a strong squad and are up there in the promotion pack for a reason.

It is important to try and take points off the teams around you in the division, whether you are in a promotion race or a relegation battle.

Preston still have Bristol City and Swindon to play in that respect.

Hats off Bristol City – for them to be 10 points clear at this stage is good going. It was good to see the young lad Callum Robinson back on the scoresheet on Saturday, that his first goal since coming back on loan last month.

Robinson scored six goals in his first spell and getting this one will have given him confidence. With Daniel Johnson among the goals – four in five – it is good that goals are coming from all areas.

There was a spell earlier in the season when it seemed that if Joe Garner did not score, Preston would struggle.

Garner is still coming up with the goals and it is good that others are helping him out with finding the net.

The big topic in football over the last few days was the spitting incident at St James’ Park involving Papiss Cisse and Jonny Evans. Spitting is horrible and is thankfully a rarity in the British game.

What I will say though, is that you can wipe spit off your shirt but you cannot wipe away a broken leg inflicted by an over-the-top tackle. That is why I do wonder whether six games for Evans and seven for Papiss is right when a tackle which leaves someone with a career-threatening injury is only punished with a three-match ban.

Maybe suspensions for bad tackles need to be increased to bring them in line with the punishment for spitting?