The FOUR talking points from Preston North End's defeat to Millwall

Preston North End once again faltered at home, losing 2-0 to Millwall at Deepdale on Wednesday night.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 8:00 am
Alan Browne and Josh Harrop leave the pitch after defeat to Millwall.

Two second half goals from the visitors sealed the points, Kenneth Zohore breaking the deadlock before Jed Wallace converted from 12 yards.

Here are four talking points coming away from Deepdale...

1. Home woes.

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PNE have now lost all four of their home games so far this campaign, without scoring a goal.

It's a stark contrast to the way they started last season as Deepdale emerged as a fortress in the early exchanges.

The problem extends beyond this season however, winning three of their last 11 home games last season.

That now makes just three wins in 15 home league games having won seven of nine of their opening league games in 19/20, drawing the other two games.

It's not a run that Alex Neil is unaware of and he will certainly be working to rectify the problem but it is an issue all the same.

Teams tend to know how to set up in PR1, sitting in deep and playing a very typical away game, looking to hurt on the break.

Though Millwall weren't completely defensive, in the way that Cardiff City were, they sat deep and looked to contain when out of possession.

PNE had worked out a way to break those sorts of sides down at one point but that seems to be missing for the time being.

2. Starting to miss key pair.

Both Ben Pearson and Ben Davies have been absent for the last few games and so far North End hadn't missed them, until they did.

In the wins over Huddersfield and QPR them not playing didn't hinder the side but when a team sits in deep and frustrates, thoughts will naturally turn to what might have been if they had their usual metronome.

Pearson is adept at switching the ball and keeping things ticking, sometimes creating just enough space to fashion an opening.

In Davies, you also have one of the division's best defenders and with weak defending on the night, you again can't help but wonder what if he had been available.

Alex Neil will hope he can have the pair back sooner rather than later and on the last showing no player could begrudge losing their starting spot.

3. Lacking a spark.

The hope was there that PNE had found their answer to their lack of creativity in the form of new signing Emil Riis.

The Dane has made a big impression in PR1 already, showing all facets of a centre forward's game despite not yet finding the net.

At Deepdale though, on his first home start, he was left feeding off scraps.

It was a dull display from PNE going forward, with Tom Barkhuizen having the best chance, a ball over the top from Daniel Johnson, who had moved into a deeper position brilliantly picking him out but for Batosz Bialkowski's save.

That was the only shot on target that Preston could muster on their own patch.

Although teams sitting in can cause them problems, there didn't seem to be enough movement or energy for the Lilywhites to really harm the visitors.

4. Ran out of steam.

After naming the same team for the third game running, Alex Neil's men just seemed to run out of steam.

The issue of the number of minutes they have played was only compounded by a number of the squad coming down with illness.

Neil revealed post match that six players had struggled with upset stomachs in the build up to the game but all put themselves forward as fit to play.

Patrick Bauer was replaced at the break after his stomach got the better of him, being 'violently sick.'

There are questions to be asked when there isn't rotation during a heavy fixture schedule but the PNE squad's determination may have also cost them.

With potentially half of the team not feeling their best, coupled with playing three games back to back in the space of just seven days.

All players have returned negative Covid tests, so that at least will be a relief to the group and the club but hopefully the players are fighting fit for the weekend.