‘We’ve got to’ - Brad Potts issues Preston North End rallying cry after Southampton hammer-blow

Brad Potts celebratesBrad Potts celebrates
Brad Potts celebrates | CameraSport - Dave Howarth
PNE drew 2-2 with Southampton on Wednesday night

You could see the deject nature of Brad Potts, but it was perhaps fitting that he was the one to venture into the press room after Preston North End’s 2-2 draw with Southampton. After all, this had been a night where the number 44 had shown great courage to go with the unwavering graft. And, until the dying seconds of the contest, Potts looked set to be hailed as the midweek match winner.

His marauding, lung-busting run forward and controlled finish under Gavin Bazunu had seen Ryan Lowe’s men come from behind to lead 2-1 - after substitute Milutin Osmajic had levelled proceedings just seven minutes into the second half. But, the Saints were to have the last laugh in the first league meeting between the two clubs since 2009.

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Russell Martin’s men were second best on the night despite spending large parts of it with the ball. North End came within touching distance of bringing their five game winless run to an end, as the visitors snatched a point deep into six minutes of additional time - the ball darting through a cloud of bodies from a Ryan Fraser corner and cannoning into the net off Potts’ head. He barely knew a thing about it, but that did not make the late bloweasier to take one bit.

“To concede so late is just so disappointing,” said Potts. “I think set plays are our bread and butter - we usually deal with them so well. It is literally the last kick of the game and so annoying, because we played really well tonight - especially in the second half. To come from one-nil down and be in a winning position, it is just so frustrating to not come away with the three points. I think them bringing their goalkeeper up maybe confused it a little bit, because there was an extra body in there.

“But, we’ve got to defend it better. There is nothing more to say because we’re just disappointed. We’ve got to take the positives from the game. Second half was brilliant and we need to take that into the game against Hull on Saturday. We cannot just let a last minute goal ruin everything going forward. We were 30 seconds away from getting three points away from a team who were in the Premier League last season.”

Potts lined up at right-back on the night as Lowe opted for a 4-2-3-1 shape - not too dissimilar to the one used away to Leicester City, though Preston were more offensive in their approach. The number 44 opened his account for the season in trademark fashion and - on the whole - felt the shape worked well against Russell Martin’s men.

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“Yeah I think it is a good option,” said Potts. “I think the shape probably means you can get more bodies up the pitch and with wingers, we’ve already got lads who are higher up than you would have with wing-backs. I think it suited us because we played really well tonight - and maybe surprised them a little bit. They probably didn’t expect us to play that. It is obviously up to the manager to decide what he wants to do, but I think he will look at tonight and see it worked well. I think we’ve probably won games this season by being hard to beat, but I don’t think we were tonight - I thought we were attacking, on the front foot and the crowd got behind us. I think the lads enjoyed it.”

Potts added: “To be honest, when I’m playing right back like I was, I think overlapping is on quite a lot. I just tried to get forward as much as I can and I know I’ve got a lot of energy to do that and, generally, wingers don’t like tracking back. I thought I’d try to make the most of that and yeah, it nearly got away from us in the end but I thankfully got into the box and scored. You can see the phase of play happening and I know if I get there first, I will be through on goal.”

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