Why Preston North End have been labelled the ‘real deal’ by impressed former Portsmouth and Huddersfield boss

Danny Cowley is the latest to reveal his admiration for Preston following their impressive start to the season
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Preston North End are the ‘real deal’ when it comes to competing for Championship glory this season.

That’s the verdict of former Portsmouth and Huddersfield manager Danny Cowley, who believes the Lilywhites tick a lot of boxes this term and must be taken seriously.

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The Deepdale side currently sit third in the table - a point behind top two Ipswich and Leicester. A draw at Rotherham on Saturday saw Ryan Lowe’s side relinquish to spot - a stalemate which also ended a run of six consecutive wins.

Preston will be keen to get back to winning ways with a home game against West Brom on Saturday.

And Cowley has every confidence they can maintain their early-season moment as he pinpointed a number of key factors that has taken the club to this lofty position.

Speaking on the BBC’s Football Daily podcast, he said: ‘I think they’re the real deal. I think Ryan Lowe has done an amazing job.

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‘If you look at the group of players, you see a lot of players on the way up, in a good time in their career. Probably not too many who have been in the Premier League, so I think you see a lot of hungry players, I think you see a lot of humble players.

‘I think Ryan has just done a brilliant job where ever he’s been. He’s gone from Bury - a club in crisis yet he managed to get them promoted in the most difficult of circumstances. He went to Plymouth and added real value there. And then obviously now at Preston.

‘He’s recruited really intelligently, look at the work they’ve done in terms of bringing in players from the lower leagues,

‘And, you know, they haven’t had easy games. They’ve had some really good results along the way and it’s going to be a really tight season for Preston North End fans, that’s for sure.’

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Lowe brought in eight new signings during the summer as he looked to improve on last season’s 12th-place finish. That saw three of his new recruits arrive from abroad - Mads Frökjaer-Jensen, Liam Millar and Milutin Osmajic respectively.

When asked if Lowe had taken North End’s recruitment to another level by seeing what Europe had to offer, Cowley insisted he had always admired the Lilywhites’ ability to navigate their way through the transfer market.

He added: ‘I think their recruitment has always been good from the lower leagues. I can remember being at Lincoln City and looking from afar at Preston’s recruitment as they were taking all the best players out of our division at the time and I thought they were doing some really good work.

‘Now they have cast their net wider, taking some players from Europe and they’re able to find some rough diamonds. And once they get into the building, I think Ryan has a really good way of integrating them and getting the most out of them.

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‘I look at people like Jack Whatmough, who we had at Portsmouth and is a top, top player. It was devastating for us to lose Jack at the end of our first season. He obviously went to Wigan and did fantastically well there.

‘But he (Lowe) has taken Jack, is playing him in the middle of a back three, he’s taken young Jordan Storey from Exeter, Liam Lindsay, another boy who has played in the lower divisions.

‘Their recruitment has been excellent and they’ve had a fantastic start to the season.

‘The challenge for them now is the expectations, the consequences of doing well, will now rise and they’re going to have to run with it. But they’ve certainly got the momentum.’