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Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

Preston winger Tom Barkhuizen gets the better of Wolves defender Ryan Bennett in the 1-1 draw at Deepdale
Preston winger Tom Barkhuizen gets the better of Wolves defender Ryan Bennett in the 1-1 draw at Deepdale

It would have been interesting to see how Preston North End had done against league leaders Wolves had they managed to keep 11 players on the pitch.

They were winning 1-0 when John Welsh got a red card and within a couple of minutes, the visitors had pulled level.

Fair play to North End, they saw out the last half-hour or so without being troubled too much – that is not easy to do.

It was a similar story at Brentford the week before, with Greg Cunningham sent off.

I think that is four red cards for them this season, all for two bookings rather than anything malicious.

In this column last week, I wrote that red cards for two cautions often include a bit of a soft one.

That was the case last week for Cunningham and Welsh’s second yellow against Wolves was very questionable.

But if you are on a booking, you’ve got to avoid anything which might give the referee something to think about.

North End should be very encouraged by the Wolves draw, even if they were pegged back after being in the lead. Wolves are heading for the Premier League and will probably be promoted long before the end of the season.

They have spent a lot of money but also very wisely, building a team which gelled straight away.

Preston gave them a very good game at Molineux in the reverse fixture, then got the draw on Saturday.

In terms of the play-offs, they have as good a chance as any of the chasing pack of making the top six.

Still they are going under the radar which might not be a bad thing but sometimes it is nice to get credit where it is deserved.

I’m sure that if you did a poll of managers and pundits outside of the division about the promotion and play-off race, North End would barely rate a mention.

Perhaps it is best for the focus to be on the big-hitters and clubs with the bigger budgets, let PNE go about their business quietly.

They have another big game against Aston Villa on Tuesday night which will be a test of character.

Villa will be looking to bounce back after their loss at Fulham and like Wolves, are looking to get back into the Premier League.

But Villa Park under the lights is the type of occasion which players want to be part of. Yes, it will be a tough one but what a chance for North End to shine and show what they are about.

Meanwhile, one of my old clubs West Bromwich Albion have been in the news for all the wrong reasons following the taxi incident during their training trip to Barcelona.

While there are pranks and having a bit of a laugh, this was on a different scale and what surprised people was who was involved – club skipper Jonny Evans and Gareth Barry were two of them.

If a team was top of the league and going great guns, something like that would soon be forgotten.

But Albion are adrift at the bottom of the Premier League and the whole thing was a disaster.