John Roper’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: Lack of commitment hard to accept

Sean Maguire during Wednesday night's 4-0 defeat at Hull City
Sean Maguire during Wednesday night's 4-0 defeat at Hull City

A torrid night for North End on Humberside with a totally insipid performance leading to a real thrashing, 4-0 by the Tigers.

Credit to the home side as they were certainly up for the game and in Jarrod Bowen had a player of Premier League quality playing halfway down the Championship.

Ye,s PNE were weakened by the absence of Browne, Davies and Fisher but could and should have done much better than the awful performance they gave in front of around 450 travelling fans. Hull led at the break through a soft Bowen goal but scored twice early on in the second half to put the game to bed before completing North End’s misery late in the game by making it four.

It was Alex Neil’s biggest defeat as manager of Preston and, while I understand some players were out of position, there is no excuse to being second to nearly every ball in the centre of the park and not showing the commitment fans expect and deserve.

There were four changes to the side beaten at Derby on Saturday with Ledson, Storey, Bodin and Gallagher coming in for Browne, Davies, Fisher and Stockley.

Ryan Ledson played right-back in the first half but had an evening he will want to forget after being terrorised down the right in the first half and at left-back in the second half.

North End actually hit the outside of the post early on through Maguire but Hull began to dominate and the writing was on the wall early on in the game. We looked vulnerable down the right every time Hull came forward and the only surprise is that it took 30 minutes for the hosts to open the scoring, with Bowen beating Rudd at the near post after beating two PNE defenders to the ball close in on goal.

Preston got to the break, just about, only one goal down but this was thanks mainly to Rudd with a couple of excellent saves from a rampant Tigers attack.

Alex Neil swapped the full-backs over at half-time but it certainly didn’t do us any favours and within three minutes of the second half starting we were two down with Magennis slotting home a penalty conceded by Ledson. When Grosicki made it three with the help of some awful defending the game was effectively over after 50 minutes.

North End brought on Nugent and Harrop, with Daniel Johnson going to left-back, and for a while we steadied the ship and hit the post once again only for the ball to run away to safety and spare Hull’s blushes.

Preston tried to press but we just looked like a side who didn’t believe we could win the game and when Bowen made it four, cutting in from the right, North End’s embarrassment was complete. For the 450-plus fans who made the trip it was a night they will want to forget and some were very angry at the end of the game at the way in which we capitulated.

However they pay their money and they are certainly entitled to their opinion.

So after hitting the top of the tree and sitting second during the international break, we now sit fifth in the table seven points behind the leaders West Bromwich Albion, who we meet on Monday evening at Deepdale.

Things must improve dramatically in the next five days if we are to gain the morale-boosting win against the Baggies to put us back on the right track.

Hopefully Browne, Fisher and Davies will all be fit to play on Monday evening for their presence was sorely missed at the KCOM Stadium on Wednesday evening.

I think any North End fan would have taken fifth in the Championship after 18 games but the last two performances have been quite worrying, so we need to shake them off ready for the big game at Deepdale under the lights and in front of the Sky cameras.

A win then would reaffirm the message to the Championship that Preston are in it for the long haul.

It’s been a bad week for sure on the field but we have a huge chance to put things right in five days’ time.