A decent debate after a game can revolve not only around who played but who didn’t play.
Win, lose or draw, we will all have our opinions of the side we’ve just seen play and those who missed out.
Covering Preston, I get asked on social media why a particular player did not play, there’s the same debate to be had in the pub, so too on the phone to my dad when we chat about the game.
Following a poor display or result, it’s the go-to subject and one where you can get a range of views.
Thankfully this season, those have been few and far between for North End and hopefully that can remain the pattern over the course of the season.
Even after a win and an accompanying impressive performance, there are some interesting views on team selection.
Sometimes the answer to why someone didn’t play is simply ‘Where would you play him and who would you leave out’? When PNE wiped the floor with Barnsley in the second half, it was hard to find fault with any of Alex Neil’s selection.
Currently Neil has lots of options available to him, 22 senior outfield players are available for the Reading game – only Tom Clarke and Louis Moult are missing.
So you’ve got a whole team of players there who won’t make the starting XI, plus a few who will miss out on the bench.
I’ve noticed a great deal of interest when it comes to Tom Bayliss, Andre Green, Jayden Stockley and Josh Ginnelly not being involved.
Bayliss is an obvious one, with North End having paid out a fee which was either a club record or very close to it.
An exciting talent who cost a lot, of course we want to know what he’s all about.
Where at the moment do you fit him in? He looks to have been signed for the role Paul Gallagher plays.
At the moment, Gally is playing like the Duracell bunny, in that he goes on and on without showing any signs of slowing down. So for now young Bayliss is having to be patient and time is on the lad’s side at the age of 20.
Green signed at the same time as Bayliss, on loan from Aston Villa for the season.
The winger is yet to start in the league and it is a few games since he made a matchday squad.
Competition in the wide areas is strong, with Sean Maguire, Tom Barkhuizen, Josh Harrop and Billy Bodin all options down the sides.
Ginnelly has made the bench more often thanGreen of late, the question asked why it is that way around?
You can only presume that Ginnelly is producing the goods in training more than Green.
Stockley returned to the bench against Barnsley and got himself a run-out after a few games out of the squad.
Neil has spoken about the big lad being the victim of a change in approach from PNE this season, in that they want more possession than playing off the striker.
I’m sure chances will come to all those mentioned but patience is a virtue.