Exclusive Sean Gregan Preston North End column: Biggest test at home to come from Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City
Preston have so far built their good start to the season on excellent form at Deepdale and long may that continue.
Four wins out of four in the Championship at home is impressive to say the least and they have clearly found some confidence playing on their home patch.
While you are not going to win every time you play at home, consistent results will have a team up there in the table – backed of course by some solid away form.
The fact North End were always able to get results in away games over the last few seasons impressed me, you would probably say that they were better on the road both under Alex Neil and, before that, Simon Grayson.
So starting this season so well at Deepdale is a nice change and the fans will be enjoying it.
Beating Brentford last week was an excellent result for me.
Brentford might not be the biggest club in the league but they’ve been a very solid Championship club for the last five or six years and have a style of play which makes them hard to play against.
North End scoring early was a big factor in the win, it gave them confidence and something to hang on to.
It meant they were not having to force their play, they had the safety blanket of the goal to fall back on.
As the game went on the onus was on Brentford to score and that meant gaps appeared – Preston able to take advantage and score a second goal.
It was a nice way to start back after the international break which is a topic I often talk about.
Sometimes the break comes at the wrong time, just as you are on a run of form.
Other times, managers can’t wait for the break so that they can do some work on the training ground to put things right.
North End were going well before the break and were able to pick up where they left off.
It is Birmingham City next for them and surely they are due an away win?
St Andrew’s is a tough old place to play at though – who can forget the play-off first leg there in 2001? It is always a very decent atmosphere and I’m sure North End will be well backed down there.
The weather is meant to be decent over the weekend and it’s not a million miles down the M6 from Preston.
After Birmingham, there is then the big League Cup clash with Manchester City.
I hope it turns out to be a brilliant night for PNE but my word, it will be tough.
If I was playing I would make sure I saw plenty of the ball in the warm-up in case I hardly got a kick during the game!
City pretty much have two fantastic players for every position on the pitch.
So whatever side Pep Guardiola names, it is going to be a top-class one, packed with quality and ability.
City are now millions of miles away from the club which I played against when a Preston player.
Fair play to their owners, they’ve invested billions in the club, in their academy and the area surrounding the stadium.
They will be a big force in the domestic game for years to come and you won’t bet against them winning the Champions League soon.