Patrick Bauer aiming for a smoother build-up to Preston North End's clash with Millwall
Patrick Bauer hopes there are no late surprises for Preston North End ahead of facing Millwall at Deepdale on Wednesday night.
The final hour of PNE’s preparation for Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Huddersfield was spent on a change of shape to counter what the Terriers had planned.
Aside from an uncertain opening 15 to 20 minutes, the late switch in formation worked wonders as North End brought three points back from West Yorkshire.
Alex Neil changed from a planned 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-1-2 which saw centre-half Bauer having to adapt his game.
He played in the middle of the back three, with Jordan Storey to his right and Andrew Hughes on the left.
Initially the plan had been for Bauer and Storey to be at the heart of the defence.
Bauer said: “We had worked in the build-up to the game with a back four.
“Once the gaffer saw the Huddersfield starting players, he expected them to go with a back three.
“It was really late that he changed it but we have really good players here and everyone knows the systems we have.
“Having worked on a back four it did take a bit of time to adapt, the first 15 minutes we were having to get used to the different distances.
“After that it got better and we played well.
“Playing three at the back at Huddersfield, I was able to step in much more into the midfield. If you play a back four and there are two strikers up there, you can’t do that.
“A back three against two strikers means two of your defenders stay with the strikers and one is on his own.
“Whatever system we play, I enjoy playing them and it is good to do both.
“As a team we were very frustrated to concede the first goal but after that we were much better.
“At the end I was a bit disappointed we didn’t win by more goals, we had the chances to kill them off.
“Thankfully we got over the line and got three points.”
The win at Huddersfield took North End’s points tally this season to double figures.
All 10 points have come on the road – three each at Huddersfield, Queens Park Rangers and Brentford, and a draw at Norwich.
Yet the Lilywhites head into Wednesday night’s clash with Millwall (7pm) with three Championship defeats out of three at Deepdale.
That is a statistic which needs changing as soon as possible, hopefully against the South London outfit.
Said Bauer: “The home form has been strange, it’s disappointing that we have lost all three so far.
“Last season our home form was extremely good and that makes things even more puzzling.
“We want to try and change it, get points at home to add to what we have done in the away matches.
“Our ambition is to win every game, that is what we prepare to try and do.
“We are a good team and I don’t think on our day we have anything to fear against any team in this league.
“After the defeats we’ve had at home you could see the boys were frustrated.
“The mood has been much different after the two wins, that is the way we want to feel after every game.
“I wouldn’t say that our confidence was really down after the defeats because the games were quite even.
“Any win you get, that is naturally going to give you a boost and we’ve had six points from two games on the road in the past week.
“Now we look forward to playing Millwall.”
North End’s issue so far this season at Deepdale has been breaking down teams who sit in their shape.
Swansea on the opening day didn’t exactly come with all guns blazing, netting their only shot on target.
Stoke scored their winner after PNE had been reduced to 10 men and then held them at arm’s length quite comfortably.
Cardiff played a classic counter-attacking game and scored their winner on the break, North End far too predictable in their efforts to find an equaliser.
Emil Riis’ addition could help bring about better home results.
The Dane’s one game at Deepdale so far was as a substitute in the Cardiff defeat.
He has since run QPR and Huddersfield ragged after being given a starting role.
Riis has caught Bauer’s eye, the pair being the ‘foreign legion’ in the North End squad.
“I think Emil has been really impressive,” said Bauer.
“It is not easy to come to a different country, sometimes it takes you time to adapt.
“Last Wednesday night and on Saturday, Emil was brilliant. We can be very happy that we have signed a player like him.
“He will feel comfortable here because the boys have been very welcoming. Emil will have got confidence from his performances.”
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here