Preston North End boss eases pressure off striker after Bristol City draw

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Preston North End picked up a point on the opening day

Preston North End boss Ryan Lowe is wary of piling the pressure on new signing Will Keane despite the striker scoring on his second debut to earn a point at Bristol City.

Goal-shy North End found the back of the net just 45 times last season with only QPR (44), Cardiff (41) and relegated Wigan (38) scoring less.

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Irish international Keane returned to Deepdale after the Latics relegation and has already equalled the league tally he amassed during a 20-game loan spell from Manchester United back in 2015.

But Keane will have to pick up the scoring slack as he leads the line in the absence of Ched Evans, who is recovering after surgery for a “serious medical condition”, and Emil Riis Jakobsen’s, who suffered an ACL injury last season.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on Will in terms of goals because we didn’t score as many as we wanted last season,” stressed Lowe.

“He just adds another 14 goals potentially, that’s what he got last season, to our ratio of what we want. When Ched’s [Evans] back Emil’s [Riis Jakobsen] back and we’ll get one more in. If the eights and tens chip in with goals it will obviously help.

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“I had the ultimate faith in Will when I signed him that he would score goals. It was a fantastic finish, a nice swivel and he put it in the bottom corner. If you give him opportunities then he will score.”

Lowe’s Lilywhites recovered from going a goal behind to Sam Bell’s opener at Ashton Gate as Keane salvaged a share of the spoils four minutes from time.

The visitors had enough chances to win the game and were frustrated when Alan Browne rattled the woodwork.

But ultimately, Lowe was pleased to travel home with a point on the opening day.

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“I thought we were excellent,” reflected Lowe. “I thought they [the players] were fantastic. We were jolted a little bit with the goal we conceded, but I thought the lads stuck to the game plan spot on.

“We were unlucky not to take all three points really, [Alan] Browny’s hit the post. There was maybe a penalty decision, but I haven’t seen it back yet. I thought we were fantastic from start to finish. We wanted to come out second half and go at them. It takes a bit of time doesn’t hot to see what they’re doing.

“With them being the home team we thought they would come out a little bit more and once they got the goal it sort of backfired on them. We got our backside in gear a little bit more and started to pass forward and run forward.

“We had them on the ropes a little bit and we had a couple of opportunities. “That’s when Browny hit the post and one fizzled across the six yard box. We could have gone on and won it, but you’d take a point away from home at Bristol City.

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“It’s a tough place to come and they’ve got some good players, you can see that. I thought the game plan first half was spot on and then to go out second half and reproduce that was good. We changed shape as well to get more bodies up the pitch and it worked to an extent with a point.”

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