Fans in call for meeting with PNE

Losing faith: Fans at the end of the game against Shrewsbury
Losing faith: Fans at the end of the game against Shrewsbury
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Under-fire Preston North End boss Graham Westley says he fully understands the frustration of the supporters which is being vented in his direction.

Once again Westley left the Deepdale dugout to a chorus of flak after North End’s 2-1 defeat to Shrewsbury.

There were calls for his sacking from disgruntled fans as the run without a home league victory stretched to an 11th game, PNE slipping to 17th place as a result of the loss.

Yesterday, fans from the South Ribble Supporters’ Club and Preston Supporters’ Club staged a joint meeting in Leyland to discuss the slump.

They have decided to write formally to North End to ask for a meeting with senior officials, in order to air their views and seek assurances on the club’s future plans.

It is unlikely that the Lilywhites will bring Westley’s tenure to an end on the back of the Shrewsbury defeat.

But club officials are growing increasingly unhappy with a run of form which has brought just one win in the last 12 League One outings.

North End’s next two games are both away – at Colchester on Saturday and then Yeovil a week tomorrow – and improved results will be needed to ease the pressure before the next home game against high-flying Bournemouth.

Westley said: “I don’t think you can expect to be the manager of this club in this league and not win games and have people happy.

“I think it’s realistic to expect people to want your blood when things aren’t as everyone would want them to be.

“When you go through a change like we have gone through, you hope that things are going to click and will get that little bit of fortune you need to get things going right quickly.

“But when it doesn’t go right you have to be strong, keep your focus on the job you need to do.

“Of course it is difficult – no one wants to walk away from a football ground with another defeat.

“At the same time you have to be honest with what you have watched.

“What I have watched is a group of players who are playing a decent, intelligent brand of football on the whole.

“They crafted 18 chances against an opposition who came here to sit deep and counter-attack.

“Shrewsbury will think it’s job well done, but on a different day the result could have been so different.

“It’s difficult for any player to go on a field of play when there is a sense of disappointment in the ground.

“Building the mentality that can relish that type of environment is all part of the process.

“The players are having to grow and learn the issues, understand the pressure of playing at a bigger club.

“When you can thrive on that pressure, then you can say you are a Preston North End player.”

North End’s form at Deepdale is a huge concern, with a team’s success traditionally built on results on their own patch.

Westley believes hard work – rather than any gimmicks – is the key to getting them back on track in front of the home faithful.

He said: “Over the years we’ve heard tales about what has happened when things aren’t quite working for certain clubs or managers. I remember Barry Fry bringing in an exorcist to exorcise the demons at a ground, and you’ve heard of managers taking their players to home games on the coach.

“I’m just focused on building the mentality and understanding of the team, building a desire for results.

“I think these lads are growing. We’ve become a better team since we brought Paul Connolly in.

“We are conceding too many goals – for Shrewsbury to have six chances and score two goals isn’t a ratio to be pleased about. There’s a lot we can work on.”