Ryan Lowe's late fume at Preston North End man as 'down in dumps' message sent

Talking points as PNE lose 1-0 at Birmingham City
Preston North End's bench looks onPreston North End's bench looks on
Preston North End's bench looks on

Here are our six talking points after Preston North End's 1-0 loss to Birmingham City on Monday.

Selection and substitutes

In the absence of four senior players who could've operated in central midfield, Ryan Lowe handed a full debut to Noah Mawene. The PNE boss has said he's considered starting the 19-year-old in recent weeks and that talk was backed up, here. This was a tough game for the youngster, alongside a likely fatigued Ali McCann - and against a Birmingham side with plenty of experience, aggression and energy. Mawene, to his credit, did not stop for his hour on the pitch but this was certainly a learning experience for the teenager - and hopefully a moment he will look back on in years to come, as a big step in his career.

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Given the lateness of Alan Browne's withdrawal from the squad, Lowe went midfielder-for-midfielder and kept Duane Holmes at right wing-back. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but Juninho Bacuna gave the American a difficult afternoon. Josh Seary, perhaps, could've been given a chance at right wing-back with Holmes tucking inside and playing in a midfield three - alongside McCann and Mads Frokjaer. But, Mawene has been catching Lowe's eye and had clearly earned the manager's trust and his opportunity.

Frokjaer was taken off after an hour, with PNE's manager feeling that the Dane was not seeing enough of the ball. But, on the few occasions Frokjaer did get into dangerous pockets during the first half, North End looked like scoring. There were a couple of duels which the Dane did not win, right in front of the dugout and Frokjaer didn't last much longer on the pitch. But, in a game that was always likely to finish one-nil, it may just have been worth keeping a player of his creativity and quality on the pitch. North End didn't threaten much, at all, in the final half-an-hour.

One blow too many

Alan Browne falling ill, the night before the game, was a real sucker-punch to an already depleted PNE. With Ben Whiteman, Ryan Ledson and Brad Potts all missing, Jordan Storey dropping to the bench after a knock and Liam Millar not 100 per cent fit, North End really could've done with their captain. The Blues are at the bottom end of the table, but had more than enough to go toe-to-toe with a weakened Preston squad. If you had two or three of those names, above, at full tilt, then it could've been a different story. You have to give Birmingham their fair share of credit, but the Lilywhites were without some really key players and you could tell. On top of that, internationals in McCann and Robbie Brady were required to go again - both playing the 90 minutes.

Lowe and Holmes

Holmes was deployed down the right again and by the looks of it, he and Lowe did not finish the game as best buddies. You would expect it to have been swept under the carpet, straight after the match, but Holmes was hooked in the final minute of normal time. Lowe appeared to rage at the number 25 for not showing for a pass from Jack Whatmough and there had been a couple of moments earlier in the half, where PNE's boss became animated on the touchline. Nothing to get too het up on, but perhaps a bit of making up for the pair to do on Tuesday morning!

Moments, moments, moments

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They decide football matches especially at this level - and Preston came out on the wrong side of them, at both ends of the pitch. Some wonderful football from PNE saw Frokjaer get into a great position in the box, during the first half. He tried to slip it through to Holmes, who was only a yard or so ahead of the Dane. But, the pass was over-hit, with Frokjaer's other option - to roll the ball across to Robbie Brady - not seen. There was plenty of frustration out on the pitch, at that one.

And Brady was then utterly seething, when his cut-back to Emil Riis was intercepted by Lee Buchanan. Lowe felt both Frokjaer and Brady ought to have pulled the trigger themelves, but you could certainly see what both players were trying to do. Frokjaer could've got the ball out of his feet with his first touch and guided his shot towards the far corner, but he is a player you back to make the right choice in those situations and had the pass to Holmes been correctly weighted, it would've been a great chance.

As for Brady, John Ruddy had raced out and closed down the angle, so the finish was not the simplest. Riis perhaps expected his team mate to shoot, though, as he appeared rather flat footed when the ball came his way. And of course, there was then the slip from Liam Lindsay - which no player ever means to do and no manager can ever legislate for. Jay Stansfield was clean through on goal and had plenty of thinking time, but you never really got the feeling he was going to miss.

Jack Whatmough's message

Speaking to the Lancashire Post, he said: "There wasn't a lot in the game, there really wasn't. I think that is the thing that's disappointing for us, because that's where we are usually good and where we get a result. For us, it's down in the dumps now, but we can't be for too long because we've got to put it right. They are down there and they are not a club that should be down there.

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"They needed that result today; not that we didn't need ours, we obviously did. I haven't started for four or five months, so my body tired towards the end - which I was expecting. I have just got to do the right things now and try recover as quickly as possible. Going away to Watford, it will be a tough game, but one we know we'll have an opportunity in if we get it right, defensively."

North End's nemesis

Gary Rowett must've licked his lips when he took on the interim role at Birmingham City and saw that his second game was against Preston North End. The 50-year-old has now managed 14 games against PNE, won eight and drawn six. On the day there was not much to split two sides who lacked rhythm and quality, for large parts. But, Rowett just seems to find a way to get it done against North End. His teams have a structure and steel about them and he relies on his side taking those key moments when they come along. Rowett always speaks highly of Preston and has managed teams who've been in and around the Lilywhites, in the table. He doesn't half have North End's number, though.

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