Preston North End’s Deepdale clash with Rotherham in August 2004 was a first audition for Billy Davies when it came to landing the Lilywhites manager’s job.
Preston’s Deepdale clash with Rotherham in August 2004 was a first audition for Billy Davies when it came to landing the Lilywhites manager’s job.
It went pretty well for the Scotsman too, PNE coasting to a 2-0 victory thanks to a Dickson Etuhu double.
Craig Brown had been sacked a little more than 24 hours earlier, a 1-0 defeat at Brighton bringing to an end his two-year tenure.
His No.2 Davies was given the caretaker coat and as history shows, was to land the job full-time a month later.
An early rival to fill Brown’s shoes was Ronnie Moore, then in charge of Rotherham.
The way in which North End brushed aside the Millers in this Bank Holiday Monday clash, was hardly a ringing endorsement of what Moore would be capable of.
North End had effectively put this game to bed by the interval, Etuhu scoring after 15 and 45 minutes.
The midfielder was back in action after suspension and certainly made an impact on his return.
He had been encouraged to get into the box to support the strikers and that paidoff as the former Manchester City man opened the scoring.
An Eddie Lewis cross from the left-wing clipped off a visiting defender and looped up towards the far post.
Richard Cresswell rose to head it back down into the middle and there was Etuhu to steer a header across Millers keeper Mike Pollitt into the far bottom corner.
North End had several chances to increase their advantage but found Pollitt in decent form with the gloves.
He saved from Cresswell, Lewis and Chris Lucketti, the best being a one-handed save on the line to keep out Cresswell’s diving header.
Etuhu found a route past Pollitt though, two minutes into stoppage-time at the end of the first period.
Marlon Broomes got down the left side of the box and turned the ball inside to Etuhu who spun and lifted a powerful shot into the roof of the net.
In the second half, he had a couple of half-chances to complete his hat-trick but could not find the net again.
Broomes went close with a shot from the edge of the box, while Cresswell’s overhead kick disappeared inches the wrong side of the target.
A David Healy shot on the turn forced another tremendous save from the over-worked Pollitt.
PNE substitute Simon Lynch had the ball in the net only moments after joining the action but a linesman’s flag saw that scrubbed out.
Etuhu saw a shot charged down as he got one last sight of goal in an attempt to get his hat-trick.
After the game, Etuhu gave his backing to Davies getting the job full-time.
He said: “All the lads want Billy to get it because we feel he would make a brilliant manager.
“We know him, he knows us, he is very professional and we all think he is the man who could really get us going.”
Davies refused to throw his hat into the ring.
“All I can say is that I now have a contractual obligation to go and work with the players and get results for this club,” said Davies
“It’s a case of wait and see. I am not going to look too far forward.”