Four things from the home defeat by Swansea: There are more questions than answers for Preston North End
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Morgan Gibbs-White scored the only goal of the game in the second half, getting on the end of Jake Bidwell’s cross to bundle the ball home.
Tom Sandells looks at the four talking points from the game at Deepdale.
1. Chances were given to players
Of the starting XI you could argue that there were opportunities given to a host to prove themselves.
Conor Ripley was given the nod in goal and had little to do, conceding the only shot on target.
Jordan Storey was preferred to Patrick Bauer and again he was solid.
Ryan Ledson looked very good in the middle of midfield, picked ahead of the seasoned Paul Gallagher.
Billy Bodin was also given the opportunity to show what he could do off his favoured right-hand side.
Bodin couldn’t get himself into the game regularly enough to have any sort of impact and the general performance of the side was flat. Don’t be surprised to see plenty of changes next time out in the league.
2. Creating chances
Chances were few and far between.
North End, as is a recurring theme over the last few years now, just didn’t really look threatening.
They certainly have goals in them and they certainly have quality in the final third but when push comes to shove they generally come up short.
There is intent from the Lilywhites and Alex Neil but the execution is lacking.
A striker has been on the wish-list for some time and it has been no mystery as to why. It simply still needs addressing, though it isn’t as easy as signing one player to fix all of the forward problems.
3. No DJ
Daniel Johsnon was left out of the squad entirely at the weekend, rumours circulating around last season’s player of the year.
He’s been linked with a move north to Rangers and when quizzed about an update on his status Alex Neil simply responded with a ‘No’.
There was a DJ-sized hole in the PNE side, missing his ability to just make things tick and affect the final third, though players are always ‘better’ when not in the team.
The biggest issue if he is to leave is how do you replace him?
And more pertinently, at what cost?
4. Alex Neil’s frustrations
In the wake of the defeat to Swansea we were greeted by Neil in what was probably the angriest mood we’ve seen him for some time.
The questions about Johnson were inevitable and clearly annoying to him, the situation rather than the need for answers, but he gave nothing away.
He kept everything short and sweet and when asked about transfer situations it was pretty much just one-word answers.
Managers are of course entitled to answer how they see fit but the frustration is certainly there from the Scot.
In his spurt of short answers he said it wasn’t fair to talk about just one player (Johnson) and that North End aren’t close to bringing in a new face.
There is intent there from PNE but with no one close to coming through the door, the availability of his best player off last season’s showings now in doubt and the usual expectations of what happens when money comes into the club, Neil may be forgiven for being ticked off.
The frustrations are largely shared by the fanbase but only time will tell how events pan out.