With a bit investment, prospects look good for next year - Preston fan John Roper is excited about the future
Make mine a double was the cry on a sunny afternoon at Deepdale with North End getting back to winning ways after an emphatic 4-0 drubbing of Ipswich Town.
Two goals each from Callum Robinson and Lukas Nmecha ensured that the horrors of the last four games were put to one side as North End played some good football against, an admittedly, under par Ipswich outfit.
North End looked much more settled and much more up for it after the nightmare show at West Brom last week with the defence looking decidedly more secure and the midfield dominating the game.
Up front Nmecha was given the striker’s role with Sean Maguire in behind and I thought he played it as well as I have seen him play and hopefully he will be back again for another go next year.
The manager made three changes to the side beaten in the Midlands last week with Callum Robinson, Sean Maguire and Joe Rafferty coming into the side to replace the injured Alan Browne with Jayden Stockley and Josh Earl on the bench. North End started quickly unusually kicking towards the Town End in the first half.
North End looked to be playing a 4-4-1-1 formation with Maguire and Nmecha occasionally switching upfront. Paul Gallagher and Robinson were causing plenty of problems out wide and it was no surprise when we took an early lead as Robinson cut in from the left and fired past the Ipswich keeper.
Just over a quarter of an hour later North End were two up when a ball from Rafferty on the right found Robinson who hit a tremendous volley into the far corner of the net to put North End well on top.
North End were cruising at the interval and it took only 10 minutes of the second half for the boys to put the game beyond any doubt. Maguire made a superb run half the length of the pitch before sliding the ball to Robinson who had his shot only half saved and Nmecha was there to tap home a well deserved goal for his efforts on the day.
The 428 travelling Ipswich fans were enjoying the weather but that’s about all as the Tractor Boys looked very much like a side that had already been relegated. The visitors best chance came when a mix up between Jordan Storey and Declan Rudd saw Jackson hit the bar but this only galvanised North End and a Robinson cross found Nmecha at the back post and the striker steered home into the net.
Game over and a morale boosting win for North End with four goals and a clean sheet to boot. It has to be said that Ipswich did not provide the toughest opposition we have encountered at Deepdale this season but I thought that North End’s performance would have beaten many better teams on the day and we looked much improved from recent weeks.
The mental tiredness seemed to have disappeared as North End were quicker to the ball and looked like the side who went on the 12 game unbeaten run.
With just three games left the target for North End will be to keep up this level of performance and not to let the season fizzle out, which would be easy to do after a few poor results.
This season is almost done but with backing in the transfer market and a bit of experience on the incoming front then the prospects for next season look very good.