Fans’ Panel member Tim Mercer hopes for positive signs from Preston North End new boys

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Another typical Championship game of rough and tumble with very little between the teams saw North End finish on the losing side, their third defeat in a row since the start of the new year.

A slow start for the Lilywhites, combined with some sloppy marking from a corner, allowed Bristol to take an early lead with a fine headed goal past debutant PNE keeper Daniel Iversen.

By the end Iversen could not be blamed for either of the two goals conceded in what looked like a steady start for the No.22.

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Ben Whiteman, another new signing, also made his first start after only putting pen to paper midweek in what may have seemed odd in light of Ben Pearson’s return to fitness and in Whiteman’s lack of preparation time with his new team-mates.

Brad Potts on the ball at Ashton GateBrad Potts on the ball at Ashton Gate
Brad Potts on the ball at Ashton Gate

Alex Neil revealed later that Pearson is looking to move on and so he needed to get his replacement out on the pitch and in the thick of it as soon as possible.

Unsurprisingly, Whiteman looked slightly hesitant at times in the first half, albeit steady and playing safe.

However, in the second period he grew more and more into the game; showing some excellent vision and passing qualities before being substituted in the latter stages.

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A minute before that point saw the Robins kill the game off with their second goal, the result of a mis-hit by their player. After the early setback, Preston did get back into it and were playing much better come the half-time whistle.

This continued after the break, but they just kept falling short in terms of the final ball and creation of clear-cut chances.

A second appearance for new loanee Jason Molumby, this time coming on as a substitute, gave just enough time to show he may also be a real asset for the remainder of this season.

He’s a different kind of midfielder than Whiteman, being more attack minded, and was not afraid to have a go with some forward surges.