Preston North End player column: Ben Whiteman's quick learning about the PNE/Blackpool rivalry

Until quite recently I had not heard much about the rivalry between Preston North End and Blackpool.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 8:00 am

With joining the club last season, I thought Blackburn was the big derby.

But since Blackpool came up, a lot of people around the club started talking about the derby and how this is the big one for the fans.

All the lads are looking forward to the game and hopefully there will be a good atmosphere.

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Preston North End midfielder Ben Whiteman

As the game has got near, there’s been plenty of talk from the staff about the game and rightly so.

In terms of derby games, I’ve played in the Doncaster v Rotherham one. When I was at Sheffield United, there were the Sheffield derby with Wednesday.

I didn’t get to play in that one but I was around the club at the time.

The build-up to the derby has been short in the fact we had the Coventry game on Wednesday night and Blackpool were at Reading.

Whether or not you wanted a longer run-up to it was result-dependant on the midweek games.

The fact we won and the way we played in the second half, means that having a couple of days’ build-up is fine.

Whether you play on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, it doesn’t make too much difference.

The turnaround between midweek and Saturday is all about recovery. It’s the same for both sides, with Blackpool having played on the same night.

Our win against Coventry was one which was needed, everyone around the club felt that – staff and players.

I didn’t think there was much in the first half despite what some people said. Their goal was avoidable from our point of view.

The reaction from the boys in the second half was outstanding I thought.

It is probably the best we have played this season in terms of being on the front foot, keeping the ball moving and sustaining attacks.

I think we caught Coventry by surprise a bit with how we moved the ball in the second half and how we hunted the ball down in packs.

When an attack broke down in the second half, our back three got hold of the ball quickly and returned it to dangerous areas.

Both our goals were great finishes, Patrick Bauer and Emil Riis doing really well.

We’ve got players in the team who like to attack the ball and Pat did that for the equaliser.

Early in the game, we’d seen Jordan Storey get across his man and meet a corner with a header, forcing the keeper to make a good save.

For our first goal, I put the cross in but I didn’t think it was a particularly fantastic ball.

Credit to Pat, he did unbelievably well and produced a great header.

Then Emil almost took the net off with his shot for the second goal.

As a squad and a unit, we have to try and build on the win, get a run going.

We know the fans will be really up for the game and they’ll be looking forward to the occasion.

I know we weren’t allocated as many tickets as we would have liked but I’m sure the supporters who are there will make a lot of noise and get right behind us.

Hopefully we can bring a good result back with us.

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