Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

North End substitute Stephy Mavididi is tackled by Roderick Miranda
North End substitute Stephy Mavididi is tackled by Roderick Miranda

Preston’s defeat to Wolves on Saturday came down to what happened in both boxes in the first half and early in the second.

While North End had the better chances early on and more of the ball, it was Wolves who snatched the lead before half-time.

Then they scored twice in quick succession to make it 3-0.

Credit to North End for sticking out their chests and pulling it back to 3-2, giving it a real go and not being far away from an equaliser.

The team’s character in doing that comes from the manager – Alex Neil to me doesn’t seem like the sort of guy who gives up easily.

PNE’s high-pressing game has been very evident in the last two matches at Fulham and Wolves.

They are both teams who like to knock the ball about and North End felt they could disrupt that by biting into the tackles high up the pitch.

It worked to the extent they led at Fulham for a lot of the game and then pushed Wolves all the way.

Playing that way demands a lot from the players and needs them to be very fit in order to cover the ground. What Neil will want now is for the team to be more ruthless to make that good pressure count.

Jordan Hugill got his third goal in three games in the Wolves clash.

After all the speculation over the summer over his future and having handed in the transfer request, there were questions asked about what his attitude would be like.

Clearly, Hugill has got his head down and worked hard.

That didn’t surprise me, he doesn’t seem like a kid who would sulk.

He is from a background where he’s played non-league football and seen the other side of the game.

What happens further down the line, we’ll have to see.

If he keeps on scoring and putting in the performances, it might be that someone puts in a bid which is too good to turn down.

But hopefully North End can get longer out of him and have the benefit of that.

One talking point from the Wolves games was Alan Browne being sent off late in the game.

The red card itself for two bookings wasn’t the story, it was the manner in which the referee dismissed him.

Browne knew what was coming after committing a foul and seeing the red card in the ref’s hand.

He went down the tunnel but before the ref could show the card, a melee broke out.

It was only after sorting that out that the ref called Browne back from the dressing room and showed him the red card on the side of the pitch.

Sometimes common sense has to prevail and this was unnecessary.

You see players reluctant to leave the pitch when they are sent off, yet here was a player accepting his fate without any dissent.

No doubt the referee was doing it by the letter of the law and would have been aware of the assessor. But a bit of common sense would not have gone amiss.