EXCLUSIVE Sean Gregan Preston North End column: Home form the key against Sheff Wed

Josh Harrop come sunder pressure from Stoke City's Tom Edwards and Sam Clucas
Josh Harrop come sunder pressure from Stoke City's Tom Edwards and Sam Clucas

Preston’s Championship clash against Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale on Saturday has the makings of a real classic.

Both teams have begun the season well – the Owls are currently fourth in the table, while North End have started off at home like a house on fire.

Two wins , six goals for, and one against, in front of their own fans has to be pleasing for manager Alex Neil.

They should go into the game full of confidence and I think it’s Wednesday who will have more to be afraid of.

It should be a decent atmosphere and a good crowd, Wednesday always travel in numbers.

From the weather forecast, it looks like the sunshine is going to be out and hopefully it’s going to be another three points at home for Preston. I was really impressed with the way North End played against Stoke on Wednesday night.

It goes without saying there’s been big investment for Stoke on the playing side – their wage bill would blow North End’s out of the water.

There are still some big hitters there from their Premier League days, but North End were far better and deserved their win.

The home form is obviously good, but the results away have not been great – obviously two defeats out of two, so that needs to be worked on.

They have had some tough games, though.

Millwall away on the opening day of the season was always going to be difficult.

Swansea have spent a few quid – they are a former 
Premier League outfit, so that was tough too.

I think the fact that the performances have been good is encouraging, they probably need to be a little bit more resilient away from home.

It is difficult when you go away because you know the home side are always going to have spells when they are on top. You have to expect that and it’s how you deal with that.

Against Swansea, North End were in control in the first half, but I think some of it is game management.

Maybe in the second half, someone should have gone down with an injury when Swansea were starting to get on top, just to break the game up.

Little things like that can help them pick up more points away from home.

With the fact that two home wins have been 
negated by the away defeats, you have to say it’s been a 
so-so start.

But I think performance-wise, there’s lot Neil will be happy about and hopefully that can continue.

I must admit it was great to see some of the football PNE played on Wednesday night and if you look at the squad, there’s a lot of strength in depth.

I’ve said before, the addition of David Nugent will make a difference once he’s fit. Apart from Callum Robinson, it’s the same group of players who nearly got into the play-offs last season so why shouldn’t they aim high this season?