John Roper’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel view: Questions MUST be asked of hierarchy

A week that started so well ended with a “business as usual” away performance from North End who suffered a rather humiliating 3-0 reverse at the City Ground.

By John Roper
Sunday, 7th November 2021, 2:35 pm

To put in such a weak performance in front of 1,917 travelling fans is bordering on disgraceful and there was real anger leaving Nottingham yesterday amongst many who had travelled.

Anger is fine after a game as it usually recedes as the days go on but the apathy of many Preston fans is truly frightening.

Plenty of people who like travelling to the away games came out yesterday but once again North End failed to deliver, so they won’t be bothering again any time soon.

Emil Riis tussles with Forest’s Joe Worrall

Yes, I know we are well clear of the relegation zone and only five points from the play-offs but the problem lies much deeper than that. As for Saturday, well the early loss of Patrick Bauer was a real blow along with a glaring miss from Potts just before the interval.

Add to this some shocking defending and a questionable penalty and you soon paint the picture of this debacle on the banks of the Trent. Frankie McAvoy made two changes to the side who pulled off an excellent victory at Bournemouth with Brad Potts replacing Sean Maguire up front and Daniel Johnson replacing Alan Brown in midfield.

I have to say neither player influenced the game very much and the missing of Browne and Maguire contributed to North End’s downfall.

We started okay against a Forest side with several big names but not yet gelling as a unit. Potts had a shot early on but the big moment for North End was Patrick Bauer limping off after 20 minutes and being replaced by Jordan Storey.

I thought it should have been Huntington to replace Bauer but it almost seems like the manager has been told not to play the Cumbrian Cannavaro. Within 10 minutes North End were one down via a questionable penalty as Grabban converted the spot-kick. Atrocious defending for the second goal before the break saw Colback volley home past Iversen.

Potts then missed an sitter right on the stroke of half-time and with that North End’s chance had gone.

There were boos from some in the away end at half-time – and not for the first time this season. No changes at the interval for PNE, who needed to score the next goal to get back in the game. North End started the better but never looked like scoring even after Cunningham and Sinclair had replaced Potts and Earl as we moved to a 4-3-3.

We had plenty of the ball in the third quarter of the game but the insistence on long throws, coupled with the usual slow movement of the ball meant Forest were able to see off North End quite easily and it was no surprise when the home side clinched the game with 15 minutes to go through Grabban.

Once again, no leaders on the pitch and no motivation of it so in spite of an excellent display four days earlier in the week, North End are once again exposed when just one or two of our spine of the team are missing.

Louder booing at the end just seemed to re-enforce where most North End fans are, currently, certainly those who travelled to Nottingham on Saturday.

I seem to have made some of these comments many times over the past two years or so and in my opinion the football we have been watching since six months before Covid began has generally been poor. It is clear that North End’s problems don’t just lie in the dug-out with the manager and his staff.

Player recruitment has generally been very poor and it is well documented what a disaster this summer’s recruitment (not loans) was, Ali McCann excepted.

The two-week break may help get players back to full fitness but, right at the top of the club, people need to decide on what the January recruitment strategy will be. More and more people are pointing fingers at certain people within the higher echelons of the organisation.

As for the time between now and Christmas, well wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results?