No festive cheer for North End as we crashed to our second successive defeat with a 2-1 home reverse against Hull City.
The Tigers took the lead just before the half hour mark with a well worked goal down the Preston right, Jackson Irvine heading home giving Declan Rudd no chance.
North End equalised early in the second half when Alan Browne struck a peach of a shot from 25 yards and for a while we were in the ascendancy.
However the visitors gradually fought their way back into the game, finishing much the stronger, and it was hardly any surprise when Irvine scored with a close range header to give Hull the points.
North End tried to rally but it was too little too late and even allowing for the ridiculous amount of injuries I thought North End were mediocre at best on the day.
Three changes for North End with Clarke, Browne and Burke coming in for Fisher, Pearson and Moult.
Alex Neil once again played with his tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 and the game started at a more sedate pace than of late with North End just about holding sway.
Hull did look dangerous on the break and we were troubled all afternoon down our right hand side by Grosicki.
Efforts from Barkhuizen and Gallagher were just about all North End had to show when Hull took the lead on the 30 minute mark. Some quick interchanging down the Hull left saw Kingsley put a perfect balll over for Irvine to head home unchallenged and the visitors were in the lead.
Things got worse five minutes later when Davies limped off and was replaced by Storey who, to be fair, did ok when he came on. North End rallied but it was Rudd who had to make a superb save just on the stroke of half time.
The half-time team talk must have been very interesting because for 15 minutes North End came out like a team possessed.
Ledson replaced the ineffective Burke at half time as North End moved to a 4-1-4-1 formation. It almost immediately reaped rewards with Johnson lining up Browne in centre field and the Irishman struck a superb 25 yard curler to beat Marshall in the Hull goal and level things up.
North End tried to press home the advantage but it was the away side who settled down and dictated play for a period of time with North End making less and less impression going forward.
A corner from the left saw Irvine win a close range header and the goal-line technology indicated that the ball had crossed the line.
No real arguments from North End and although we had a couple of corners right at the death it wasn`t to be on a Boxing Day to forgot for a weary looking North End.
I don't really level a great deal of blame on the manager after this mediocre performance and with an injury list as long as your arm it is difficult to see where it will get better for North End in the very near future.
Some blame the lack of investment and the general apathy around the club but in my heart of hearts I think it is a combination of an appalling injury list and not buying players, in the transfer windows, better than those that we already have.
It's not the time to panic but alarm bells must be starting to ring at Deepdale more with next season in mind than this.
The best players are not stupid and if they see top players going out and lesser players coming in then they will be wanting to go through the departure gate as well. That old word ambition is rearing its head again at Deepdale.