Ben Pearson's exclusive Preston North End column - midfield diamonds and the PNE baby boom

In our victory against Barnsley we changed shape and went with a diamond in midfield, that a system I really enjoy playing.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 8:36 am
Ben Pearson in action for Preston against Barnsley

What that formation allowed was to get four central midfielders in there in the shape of myself, Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson and Josh Harrop.

There is a lot of quality there and it can be difficult sometimes to get all four in.

I was able to play my usual deeper role with the other lads further forward and I thought it worked really well.

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In action against Leeds on Boxing Day

Barnsley play with a diamond and had caused quite a few teams problems in doing so.

On this occasion the gaffer chose to match them up rather than risk it being their shape against our shape.

If you match teams up and have the better players, you tend to come out on top.

Playing a diamond won’t suit us every game and you have to be ready to change to another shape.

You can get exposed down the wings playing a diamond if the opposition has quality out there.

Barnsley didn’t really get their full-backs high and played with two up top rather than with wingers, so there wasn’t an issue for us down the sides.

In the games ahead, starting with Swansea on Saturday, the gaffer will have a look at the opposition and decide which is the best formation for us to play.

We’ve won our last two matches, having beaten Charlton at Deepdale before going to Barnsley.

I missed the Charlton game having been sick the day before the game.

On the morning of the game I didn’t feel too bad, it was only a 24-hour bug, but the issue was I hadn’t been able to eat anything and it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do to play.

Hopefully the two wins have put us back on the right path after a bit of a sticky spell of form.

The season has been a bit up and down, the majority of it positive but we had that little negative patch when we struggled.

When you lose a couple of games your confidence does drop, that’s only natural. It is fine margins in this division, that is something the gaffer has spoken about.

You can win 1-0 and people speak about how well you have played when that’s not necessarily been the case.

But then you can lose 1-0, play okay, but people just look at the result and assume you’ve played badly.

It is a case of not getting too high or low, trying to keep on a level. Congratulations to Alan Browne who became a dad last weekend – his girlfriend gave birth to a boy and they are over the moon.

I think it was last Saturday night that the baby arrived and he sent us all a picture, which was nice.

It must be quite difficult concentrating on your game when you know the baby is due any day.

Browney can now concentrate on his football knowing the baby is safely here.

New dads are entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave but the unwritten rule is that footballers don’t take it.

If I ever have a kid, I’ll be taking the time off – see you later! Seriously though, it’s great for Browney and his family.

Billy Bodin became a dad too a couple of weeks ago, his girlfriend had a baby boy. So congratulations to him too.