PNE in Numbers: North End have been slow starters...so far

Jordan Hugill is congratulated on his goal at Fulham.
Jordan Hugill is congratulated on his goal at Fulham.

If the season so far is anything to go by, don’t worry if you’re a few minutes late taking your seat on Saturday.

Ahead of this weekend’s meeting with Queens Park Rangers, Preston are yet to score in the first 15 minutes of any game this Championship campaign.

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Jordan Hugill’s strike in the 18th minute at Fulham back in October is the earliest Alex Neil’s men have been on target.

Sean Maguire doubled the lead seven minutes later but as no-one needs reminding, it didn’t end in three points for the Lilywhites.

The latest goal in any PNE game this season ensured the game ended all square at 2-2, Denis Odoi profiting on Chris Maxwell’s error to score in the 96th minute and break some hearts in the away end at Craven Cottage.

North End fans may be waiting for the first early strike of the season but it doesn’t mean they are giving themselves plenty to do in games.

The earliest goal against is James Chesters’ 12th minute header in Aston Villa’s 2-0 win in front of the Sky cameras on November 1.

On the flipside, in terms of goals scored, the majority of goal-mouth action has come in the closing stages of games.

The Lilywhites have been on target 12 times between the 60th and 90th minute of games.

When it comes to goals against, the busiest 15-minute spell has been in the quarter of an hour after the interval where six goals have come for the opposition this season.

The reality is, as with most stats, PNE won’t care when the goals come as long as the results are right.

After injuries hit hard four straight defeats set some alarm bells ringing but the international break couldn’t have come at a better time for Neil and those in his treatment room.

It’s five points from three games since the hiatus from Championship action with a QPR side with similar injury problems heading to Deepdale this weekend.

They are four points and four places below the 13th-placed Lilywhites who will be looking to close the six-point gap to Derby in the final play-off place.

A fast start, namely a goal in that crucial first quarter of an hour, would certainly help get things up and running on and off the field.

It is the start of a run that will see PNE play three of their next four games at home, Neil’s men having picked up just three points from their last five matches at Deepdale.

It is a batch of games that could be crucial come May.