Exclusive Sean Gregan Preston North End column: Derby reflections and PNE’s early start on Sunday
Preston North End showed great some character to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win against Blackburn and claim the bragging rights.
I’ve been on both ends of that kind of game before and you can feel it changing as the action unfolds.
If it is your team fighting back from being behind, it seems that every pass finds its target and everything goes your way.
When the boot is on the other foot, nothing seems to go right for you.
With North End being at Deepdale, they were always going to get chances to chip away at Blackburn.
If you go behind in an away game, things can be a bit more difficult.
Not that I’m saying what Preston did last week was easy in any way!
Someone I knew was at the game and was sending me texts.
As soon as a text came through saying North End had pulled a goal back, I knew they would go on to get something out of the game.
What a superb goal it was from Tom Barkhuizen for the winner too. He showed some fantastic technique to open his body up and curl a shot right-footed into the net.
That is not easy to do, if you get your shape a little bit wrong that shot would end up in the stand.
Barkhuizen is showing what a good player he is, the lad has pace to burn and an eye for goal.
Why North End started so poorly against Blackburn, who knows?
They conceded after 30 seconds and that can really rock you, knock you out of your stride for a while.
What you worked on in training and planned for, suddenly goes out of the window and you are chasing your tail.
I don’t think tea cups get thrown anymore in dressing rooms but I’m sure Alex Neil has a few choice words to say, as well as the tactical change he made.
His main message would have been to get the next goal. If Blackburn had scored it, they would have gone home with three points.
North End instead halved the deficit and it was game on with plenty of time to push for more goals.
It’s off to London now for PNE, with a visit to Charlton Athletic who are going really well after promotion.
The 12pm kick-off time on Sunday isn’t great but it is something players just have to adapt to.
If you get to the Premier League, relatively few games are 3pm on a Saturday. For the noon start, you just have to do everything in your routine earlier, whether that be eating, the pre-match walk or team meeting.
With the meal, you just have breakfast rather than trying to shovel down a bowl of pasta or a chicken breast at 9am.
These days managers are very good at getting the minds of the players focused on the game rather than them worrying about the time of the game and that it might be earlier.
Charlton are a decent side and from what I’ve seen of them they are happy to take the game to you. That might well suit PNE as they try to find the gaps.