Exclusive Sean Gregan column
The 5-0 hammering against Brentford asked a lot of questions and the mood among supporters and the squad was pretty low.
The victory against Wigan was achieved with a clean sheet which is how Simon Grayson builds his teams, so that was an added bonus.
In the league, that is two home wins on the bounce and points need to be collected on a regular basis at Deepdale.
Going back to the 3-2 win at Bournemouth, that was about players taking their chance.
None more so than striker Simon Makienok who scored that wonderful hat-trick to send Preston through to the next round.
We hadn’t seen lot of him since he joined in the summer but what a way to step up and make an impact.
Makienok’s reward was to stay in the team for the Wigan game and he played his part in that win.
There were a few others in the same boat as him, in that they hadn’t featured too often in the North End squad this season.
But every credit, they did a job when called on for the cup game.
You need that competition in the squad but I know that it can get frustrating for players.
That is one of the negatives of the transfer window system, so too the abolition of the loan window in the Football League.
Clubs have had to get a top-heavy squad together ahead of the close of the window.
Most in the Championship will be carrying squads of 25 first-team players, when in the past they could perhaps get away with 20.
Previously, if they lost a player or two to injury or suspension, there was the loan market to fall back on.
There are going to be some games when you have five or six decent players not even making the bench.
That is when they have to be patient and know that their chance will come at some stage – others get injured and suspended, or can lose form.
North End have two more big games ahead of them this week, Birmingham away on Tuesday night and then Aston Villa at Deepdale on Saturday.
Birmingham have made a very decent start to the season and will be tough opponents at St Andrew’s.
As for Villa, they are one of the big boys in the division after being relegated from the Premier League, although are only level on points with PNE.
Villa probably spent more, certainly as much, as some Premier League clubs during the summer.
They invested heavily in two good strikers and will be looking to get straight back to the top flight.
Villa’s problem this season could be that clubs will relish playing against them simply because of who they are.
Opposition players will enjoy going to Villa Park, which is a brilliant stadium, and trying to get a result there.
Just going back to the game at Birmingham, a lot of PNE fans will have great memories of the play-off semi-final win over the Blues in 2001.
We played the first leg at their place, it was a hot Sunday afternoon and we got out of there with a 1-0 defeat, which we were delighted with.
The second leg is history, with the Trevor Francis thing and us winning on penalties.