John Roper’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: We need to aim a bit higher with spending

Our poor league form from the end of last season carried on into the start of this with an opening day defeat at the hands of Swansea City.
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There was not really an awful lot of difference in the sides, but a quality move from the Swans eight minutes into the second half was enough to give the visitors all three points.

One or two surprise inclusions in the North End side saw Jordan Storey come in at the expense of Patrick Bauer but once again neither of the recognised strikers started the game, although both Sean Maguire and Jayden Stockley both got into the action just before the hour mark.

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After a dull opening half to the game things livened up after the break and as Preston changed formations and after the two subs we got on top for the last 20 minutes or so but we just couldn’t find a route through against a very solid and organised Swansea defence.

Preston substitute Sean Maguire under pressure from Swansea City’s Marc GuehiPreston substitute Sean Maguire under pressure from Swansea City’s Marc Guehi
Preston substitute Sean Maguire under pressure from Swansea City’s Marc Guehi

Several half-chances went begging near the end but all were either changed down or went wide of the mark.

The sun was shining brightly as the game kicked off in front of another virtually empty Stadium just showing,if anybody needed telling, that football is nothing without the fans. North End started brightly enough looking to take the game to the Swans.

However the game soon developed into a midfield battle and although neither side looked like breaking the deadlock it was the visitors who often looked a little quicker on the ball in the final third. Alan Browne did make a couple of good blocks in the right-back position with Lowe and Ayew looking the most likely for Swansea.

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No changes for either side at half time but the game certainly livened up with Swansea having the ball in the net inside the first minute, only for linesman’s flag to rule for offside. At the other end PNE had a penalty shout,

Potts going down after he was seemingly held back but Mr Jones was having none of it. The deciding goal came in the 53rd minute when Gibbs-White was on hand to knock Bidwell’s cross home with Ryan Ledson failing to clear.

So not the start that North End wanted and with Daniel Johnson absent and rumoured to be a possible transfer target it seems that we will, once again, have to sell one of our better players before we can buy.

No disrespect to either Maguire or Stockley as they are both players I like but we really must aim a little higher this time when we target our next frontman.

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North End’s last 10 league games since the restart have produced only 10 points and that is not good form in anybody’s book.

We do seem predictable at times and the good teams in this division will find a way to nick a goal and keep us out at the other end.

It’s very early days but I think that having no fans in Deepdale is not helping our cause one little bit.

Anyway onwards and upwards as we travel to Derby on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup followed by a tough-looking fixture at Norwich next Saturday.