Five Preston North End players to have made an impact in the first month of the season
Preston North End’s five league games to date have seen Frankie McAvoy used 20 players.
Nineteen of them have made the starting XI, with Joe Rodwell-Grant used off the bench in the last couple of minutes of the 3-1 victory over Swansea City.
The side has evolved quickly since the opening day of the season’s defeat to Hull, partly due to form and also because of Covid – either through players having the virus or having to isolate.
We look at five players who have made an impact in their own way over the last few weeks.
1. Emil Riis. The Danish striker leads North End’s scoring charts with five goals, two in the league and three in Carabao Cup action.
Although Riis has played in every match, his game time hasn’t been plentiful, hence his goal contribution being very decent.
Remember, he only played the first half against Hull after he’s opened the scoring early doors.
At Mansfield in the cup he came off the bench to find the net, with him not starting against Huddersfield or Peterborough.
Riis’ finishing still needs plenty of polish but he looks like he’s playing with plenty of confidence, something a run in the side can only help.
His pace will always caused defences problems and PNE need to use that.
2. Sepp van den Berg. Not only has the Dutch teenager looked an accomplished wing-back, he’s turned into a goal machine too!
That might be stretching a point, but two goals in his last two matches in decent going for a defender.
The first of those at Morecambe was a tap-in at the far post – right place at the right time – the second to pull PNE level against Swansea, van den Berg showed some nice footwork and a smart finish of which a striker would have been proud.
Van den Berg wants to play long-term as a central defender but at present it would be hard to move him out of the wing-back slot.
3. Patrick Bauer. Although the German has only played twice in the Championship, it has to be noted that North End won both games.
It’s been a case of easing him back into competitive action after his ruptured Achilles tendon, his first 90 minutes in more than eight months coming at Mansfield.
Liam Lindsay having to isolate opened the door for him against Peterborough and Bauer supplied Preston’s winner that day.
4. Josh Earl. The academy graduate was thrust back into action at Huddersfield in place of Greg Cunningham.
He was one of PNE’s better performers that night and then impressed in the two league wins which followed.
It’s four years since Earl broke into the first-team and he will be looking to establish himself in McAvoy’s plans.
5. Daniel Johnson. He only made the bench for the first game after returning from playing for Jamaica but has been ever-present since.
In recent games DJ has had the captain's armband too. He was excellent in the Swansea game, triggering the press and winning the ball in the opponents' half a number of times.
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