Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column
Although Preston have been on a good run of form, I think they will be glad to have the international break at the moment.
I know that people will say, ‘You can’t be tired at this stage of the season’ but a little break in action does no harm.
Players can have a few days’ rest, maybe a session or two in the gym or swimming pool where the work is non-weight bearing.
Importantly, the manager has a clear few days with the squad on the training ground to run through a few things, something you don’t always get the chance to do when you are playing twice a week.
Hopefully, it will be a fresh and re-charged North End squad which goes into a tough run of games, starting against Brighton next weekend.
Brighton, Huddersfield, Norwich and Newcastle is a difficult run of games as all of them are in the top four.
Sometimes though, a team can rise to a challenge like that and nick a few points when they aren’t expected to.
PNE’s last game – the win over Aston Villa – proved to be the end for Roberto Di Matteo as Villa manager.
There was a lot of pressure on him after the money which was spent in the summer, and clearly the expectation was more than the one win they have put on the board.
I still think the Villa job will be a great one for the right man but there is plenty of work to do there.
Cardiff also sacked their manager in the early part of the international break, with Paul Trollope replaced by Neil Warnock.
In the Premier League, Francesco Guidolin got the boot at Swansea, Bob Bradley taking over.
It seems to be that owners and chairman are waiting for one another to make the first move when it comes to sacking a manager. Once one club acts and goes for a change, others tend to follow.
The average time spent in a job for a manager is getting less and less.
I’ve heard that 13 months is about the average, which is hardly any time for a manager or head coach to get their point across.
Reigns of the length of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger won’t be seen again. Nor do I think we will see players staying at one club for their whole career like Ryan Giggs.
When the Premier League resumes, it will be interesting to see how the division develops in the next few weeks.
Manchester City seem to be the team to beat – finish above them and you will be the champions.
Pep Guardiola has made his mark quickly there and got City playing the way he wants.
Guardiola’s record speaks for itself and City have the financial clout to buy again in January if needed.
That said, Tottenham put in a great performance to beat City last weekend.
I can see Spurs challenging for the title again because they have got a strong squad who know exactly what Mauricio Pochettino wants from them.
Don’t rule Liverpool out either. I have enjoyed what I’ve seen from them.
I like Jurgen Klopp and his approach to the game.
After the bore of the Euros in the summer, where teams seemed intent on not losing rather than going for a win, it has been good to see Klopp’s attacking philosophy.
Liverpool have scored a lot of goals and work ever so hard in winning the ball back off the opposition.
Can they challenge for the title? I think they can but it will take a big effort to get past Manchester City.