Fans’ Panel’s Tim Mercer says post-Trevor Hemmings era must be planned for at Preston North End

A match, that will not last long in this fan’s memory, put to bed any lingering doubts about which division my beloved Preston North End will be playing in next season.

Sunday, 25th April 2021, 12:30 pm

In truth, the win midweek secured safety in all senses of the word apart from the cold mathematics of the league table.

This win put that beyond doubt and allows our thoughts to ponder on the season ahead in what will be a crunch summer period for the future of the club.

As for the game itself, despite North End having the better of the chances overall, it was not easy on the eye with a lot of low-quality punting forward of the ball by both sides.

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North End’s Ryan Ledson and Greg Cunningham at the end of the match

This was most apparent in the first half, with Ched Evans and Sean Maguire up top struggling to survive on the scraps that came their way. Having said that, I have no doubt Maguire will be disappointed to have missed a clear-cut opportunity that he headed wide.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, but with Evans gaining more traction in terms of making the ball stick and in causing disruption in the hosts’ defence.

Indeed, he should probably have been awarded a penalty when brought down by the Sky Blues’ keeper after breaking into the penalty area in the early stages of the restart.

A short time later another clear foul on Evans, again by the keeper, conceded the penalty that decided the game. Alan Browne stepped-up to convert and that was it.

So, that leaves the question of whether McAvoy should be given the chance to make his position more permanent or if Preston should be looking at someone like bookies’ favourite Gareth Ainsworth to take over the helm of a club in transition with an ageing owner who has rescued an otherwise sinking ship on various occasions in the past.

The era of relying on this security is starting to come to a close and will need to be addressed.