Exclusive Sean Gregan Preston North End column: A good week can finish on a high
It should be a very buoyant Preston side heading to Swansea after two great wins against Wigan Athletic and Bradford in the last few days.
The 3-0 victory over Wigan was a great response to losing at Millwall on the opening day of the season.
It is easy to get too high or too low after a result but I said at the time the Millwall defeat was not to be overly concerned about.
First-day results can be all over the place because teams are still finding their legs and some take longer to settle than others do.
As a player, it would take me six or seven games to get properly up to speed, feel like my true self.
It wasn’t a case of being unfit or anything like, more so getting your timings and that bit of extra sharpness that only a run of league matches bring.
North End played very well against Wigan and it was pleasing to see Sean Maguire and Louis Moult off the mark – that is want you want from your strikers.
Keeping Maguire fit this season could play a big part in their campaign.
We saw what he could do in his first season, either side of that long absence with a hamstring injury he scored a decent number of goals. Moving Maguire out of the middle to play on the left was a good decision by Alex Neil for the Wigan game.
By all accounts, he didn’t get into the game at Millwall when playing up front.
It can be hard for a small striker playing up front on his own.
When I played at the back, being up against a little guy on his own up front made for a good afternoon – you could bully them out of the game.
There will be games when they need to move Maguire out of the middle and get him on the ball in other areas.
Or it might be a case of playing two strikers up there, occupy the defenders that way. The win against Wigan was followed up with the 4-0 victory at Bradford on Tuesday.
For Neil to have changed the full starting XI and got that result will have pleased him no end.
There will have been lads who played at Bradford who gave the manager plenty to think about.
Tom Barkhuizen’s two goals won’t have done him any harm, while it was good to new the new lad Andre Green find the net.
I would think Neil will go back very closely to the side which beat Wigan for the Swansea game, but he might be tempted to go with one or two players from the team which won in midweek.
On Wednesday night it was great to see my former Preston team-mate Andy Lonergan in the Liverpool squad for their Super Cup win against Chelsea.
What an amazing move that has been for Lonners, the chance to see the work of Jurgen Klopp, save shots in training from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Lonners might be there as the third-choice keeper and is unlikely to play but he has put himself in the shop window and is hopefully getting a decent pay packet.
I was in the North End team the night he made his debut as a skinny 16-year-old kid at Coventry and he filled out to be a fine goalkeeper.