An eventful first month at Preston North End for striker Emil Riis

Emil Riis has packed plenty into his first month with Preston North End.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 5th November 2020, 4:45 pm

It is not easy for any player coming to a new club in a different country at the best of times, the fact Riis’ arrival came in the ongoing pandemic just upping the challenge.

However, the Danish striker is already a fans’ favourite, even though the only way they can see him at the moment is via iFollow or the red button.

Riis got his first goal in PNE colours in the 3-0 win at Reading on Wednesday night to add to impressive displays against QPR and Huddersfield.

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Emil Riis is congratulated by Scott Sinclair after scoring his first goal in a Preston shirt

At the Madejski Stadium he led the Royals’ defence a merry dance, winning a penalty which Daniel Johnson missed, before firing the second goal after latching on to Ryan Ledson’s pass.

Then he had a hand in the third goal scored by Brad Potts, his popularity rating going up another notch or two.

Next on his agenda is a good show in Saturday’s clash with Rotherham at the New York Stadium.

Getting off the mark was a big moment for Riis, after all strikers are primarily judged on goals.

Preston North End striker Emil Riis

He’d had a couple of near misses in earlier games, hitting the bar at Huddersfield and missing from close range in the win over Queens Park Rangers.

Riis said: “I’m delighted to get my first goal, I’d been playing well in the last few games so to score and for the team to win, was good.

“The two home games in the last week we hadn’t done well but it seems away from home we play very well.”

Riis signed for North End on October 1 from Randers FC for £1.2m.

The formalities of the deal were completed at Manchester Airport after flying in by private jet.

He just about had time to meet his new team-mates and get one training session under his belt ahead of the 4-2 win over Brentford.

Then it was back over to Denmark to join-up with their Under-21s side.

After the international break he was a substitute against Cardiff before getting his first start at QPR.

He was in from the beginning against Huddersfield and Millwall, was a sub in last week’s defeat to Birmingham, before getting his starting place back in midweek.

Workrate is a given in any football team and Riis certainly puts in the hard yards.

What has caught the eye though, is his pace, and he has plenty of it for a lad standing 6ft 3in.

“I grew up with managers who liked me to work hard,” said Riis.

“For me, that is one thing you always have to do.

“The gaffer here knows my strengths, he knows how to play me.

“One of my strengths is pace. People look at me and will think, ‘He is a big lad, he will probably just be strong’. Not a lot of people over here know about my pace yet so they might underestimate me.”

Like his team-mates and PNE fans alike, Riis finds North End’s current pattern of home and away form a puzzle.

The win at Reading was the fourth on the road this season, with them taking all 13 points away. At home they have lost all five league games and scored only one goal.

The impressive away form is something North End hope to continue at Rotherham this weekend.

Said Riis: “I can’t explain why it is. It’s good to have the away form but we need to do it at home. We seem to have a different feel about is in the away games.

“At Reading you could see how much we pressed but that is not something we can always do at home.

“A lot of the home games have been against sides who sit off the ball and don’t want to put pressure on us.

“In our away games, the home team tends to get high up the pitch and that allows us to break.

“I can run in behind because the other team creates a lot of space.

“We have one more game to go before the international break, so hopefully we can win that and then come back in good spirits ready for the next match.”

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