Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column
Ex-Preston North End skipper writing for the Evening PostPreston's form over the last few weeks says to me that there is no reason why they cannot make a push for the play-offs this season.
They are only three points off the top six and consistency is a massive thing at any level. Just look at what Leeds have done, another of my former clubs.
Like North End, they were down in the bottom three for the first few weeks. But a run of good results have shot them up the table and into the top six.
Newcastle will no doubt win the league but after that, it is going to be about the clubs who are consistent.
Saturday’s victory against Rotherham means it is 13 points from the last 18 on offer for Preston.
When four of those games were against clubs in the top four at the time, it has been good going for them.
Rotherham was a different kind of test in that they are at the bottom of the table and fighting for their lives.
The visit to the New York Stadium could have been a real banana skin, with them recently having appointed Kenny Jackett as manager and the players being keen to impress him.
Credit to North End – they approached the game in the right manner and came away with the 3-1 win.
It was good to see them scoring three goals, the first time that has happened in a Championship away game for a little while.
Just because Rotherham were bottom of the table, didn’t mean it was not a difficult game. When I was at Leeds, they played Rotherham at their old Millmoor ground on a Monday night live on Sky.
Rotherham had not won for 22 games but you just knew what was going to happen and indeed they beat us 1-0. If your approach is not quite right, surprise results like that can happen.
Aiden McGeady played an influential part in North End’s win and having him back fit again is a big boost.
McGeady, when fully fit, is probably playing a division below his ability in the Championship.
But sometimes you have to drop a level as a player in order to get a run of games and find your form.
If McGeady can stay fit, he will be a real asset to Preston. His pace and trickery can cause defences all kinds of problems and it was a decent piece of business for North End to get him on transfer deadline day in August.
He will give their attack another dimension and hopefully going in the right direction – up the table.
On Saturday night, the Championship sack race continued with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink leaving his job at Queens Park Rangers.
Seven clubs in the division have now changed managers this season and we are only in the first week of November.
QPR do seem to be quite a difficult club to manage, with no one particularly getting it right in recent years. I don’t know if that is a legacy of that period when they spent big and saddled themselves with a huge wage bill.
But does a continual change of manager have a positive effect?
Look how many managers Sunderland have been through in recent years and all the good it has done them.
I was pleased for my old boss David Moyes when Sunderland beat Bournemouth – a defeat could well have meant the end for him there.
Watching the highlights, they got battered and had Jordan Pickford – a goalkeeper PNE know all about – to thank for the win.