It may be an uncomfortable few weeks for PNE supporters...FOUR things we learned from the defeat by Forest

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It wasn’t exactly a happy new year for Preston, as they lost out 1-0 to Nottingham Forest.

Lewis Grabban’s somewhat controversial penalty proved to be the only goal of the game, with replays showing he could have actually touched the ball twice, slipping as he took the kick.

The crossbar was also PNE’s nemesis as they couldn’t find the back of the net.

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TOM SANDELLS looks at four talking points from the defeat at Deepdale.

Daniel Johnson is one of the Preston stars who will be attracting interest next monthDaniel Johnson is one of the Preston stars who will be attracting interest next month
Daniel Johnson is one of the Preston stars who will be attracting interest next month

1. Start as you mean to go on

Sometimes the turn of the year can provide teams with fresh impetus to really kick their season on – that isn’t exactly the case for PNE.

They went into the game with three back to back wins, both in the league but also at home. North End are a side that are patchy and the longer they can make purple patches last the better.

Instead unfortunately it peters out, to a backdrop of more uncertainty around key players whilst a star-studded, expensive Forest side scrape by.

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It’ll be a case of reset and get ready for the FA Cup now but there were also positives to take. They were solid at the back, aside from one moment of madness for the penalty and didn’t look in danger.

They had their moments where they could have made something of the game too.

2. One of those days

It can be a bit of a cop-out to label it one of those days, but you did kind of get that feeling with the way the game panned out.

Forest were by no means a bad side and neither were PNE. They were unlucky, should it be proved that Grabban struck the ball twice, and but for inches their efforts that hit the crossbar could have been guided into the net instead of away from danger. They did most things right and come away with nothing.

They are the fine margins in this division.

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North End have played poorly and won as recently as last week so sometimes you must take the rough with the slightly less rough.

3. A long time coming

Tom Bayliss started his first league game for PNE against Forest, 17 months after joining from Coventry City.

There has been lots of interest from the fans to see more of him but Alex Neil has stood firm.

Bayliss has had more and more minutes of late, coming off the bench, and has looked the part. He also looked the part from the off at Deepdale and hopefully it’s something he can build on to become a regular starter.

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Alongside Ryan Ledson it is an exciting prospect, but if both are starting it may also mean some bad news.

4. Open season

As of January 2, the transfer window is now open.

With the news that Ben Davies seems to have made up his mind that his future lies outside of PR1, it’s a blow to PNE.

There are three more big names in the Lilywhites’ squad that are in similar spots but now the window is open, they are free to talk to those abroad. Clubs outside England can approach with pre-contract deals, including the Scottish giants rumoured to be interested in Davies.

Due to this, North End will likely look to sell those not signing now, rather than lose them for free on said pre-contracts.

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If nothing else, their futures will be resolved this month and the talk can end.

Davies, Ben Pearson, Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson will have plenty of eyes on them this month.

How things have got to here is a different matter entirely, but for PNE fans, it might be time to brace yourself for some uncomfortable weeks as the core of the squad hangs in the balance.