Brilliant Browne, clinical Keane - Preston North End player ratings for season so far

PNE headed into the international break top of the Championship table
Preston North End players celebratePreston North End players celebrate
Preston North End players celebrate

Preston North End have enjoyed their best start to a league season since 1928, with the Lilywhites top of the Championship table after five matches.

Staying anywhere near there for the duration of another long, gruelling campaign will be an almighty task, but Ryan Lowe’s men are feeling good about their football - with 13 points from a possible 15 collected. It’s Lowe’s former club Plymouth Argyle up after the international break, as PNE look to continue their early season form.

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North End’s disappointing round one exit in the Carabao Cup is firmly in the past, with three points at Stoke City last time out giving the sold-out away end a day to remember. Preston’s away form was excellent last season, but they struggled on home soil. Needless to say, then, that two league wins from two at Deepdale has certainly boosted the mood.

With Swansea, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke all seen off by PNE, to go with the opening day share of the spoils with Bristol City, there is reason for optimism following a solid summer transfer window. With the match action put on pause, the Lancashire Post looks at the squad’s efforts so far. Leaving out those to play minimal minutes, we’ll start with the shot-stopper...

Freddie Woodman

A couple of clean sheets will have done him good after racking them up last season. Has produced some vital saves once again - his stop to deny Patrick Roberts from point blank range against Sunderland the pick of them. Will be looking to kick on after the break and keep playing a really key role for the team. 8

Jordan Storey

Can be pleased with his performances so far. Has not look overly troubled, a couple of loose moments against Swansea City aside perhaps. Solid last time out at Stoke and has not allowed summer recruit Jack Whatmough to dislodge him in the back three. PNE have been using his aerial ability to get them higher up the pitch, quicker. 8

Liam Lindsay

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Top stuff from the big Scot. His header won PNE the match at Sheffield Wednesday and he has barely put a foot wrong at the other end of the pitch. Sticks to what he’s good at and looks confident in doing so. Did well at Stoke to nullify the threat of Wesley and just needs to keep it going. 8

Andrew Hughes

The Welshman’s performances dipped a little bit last season, but Hughes explained earlier this summer that he was playing with a shoulder issue for pretty much the entire campaign. With that now fixed, it is no coincidence to see him back to his best. Headed home the equaliser against Swansea and has that added edge back defensively. 8

Jack Whatmough

Biding his time, with encouraging signs of what could be to come. Whatmough’s debut in the cup did not go brilliantly, but he shrugged that Salford mistake off and now looks to have slotted in seamlessly to life at Preston. Some valuable contributions off the bench, late in games, before impressing on his first league start at Stoke. A proper defender, who can shift and take the ball. 7

Kian Best

He has broken on to the first team scene before anyone expected and played with real maturity. As to be expected, the teenager has made a couple of errors in games but you cannot knock his courage. Provided a delicious assist for Lindsay at Hillsborough. The quality in his left foot should stand him in good stead, as he continues to learn and develop. 6

Brad Potts

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North End’s number 44 has been immense. The work he gets through up and down the right flank is relentless and he’s dealt with some particularly tricky customers already. Attacks with more purpose and confidence than when he first started playing at right wing-back, which is good to see. One of the first names on the team sheet. 9

Ryan Ledson

Much better in the last few games and looks to be benefitting from PNE’s shift in approach, with the Lilywhites looking to go from back to front quicker and play in higher areas of the pitch. His best performance came in the last match and added competition after the break should spur him on. 7

Ali McCann

Missed the Sheffield Wednesday game through injury, but returned the weekend after and impacted the turnaround win over Swansea City from the bench. Started strongly in the draw at Bristol City and has brought that tenacity you associate with him. He said earlier this summer it was a big season for him to really kick on and the number 13 has made a good start to doing so. 7

Mads Frokjaer

A wonderful moment against Sunderland as he scored his first goal in English football and a winning one too. The Dane has shown his quality and the traits he will bring to the table. A glorious assist to tee up Duane Holmes for the winner against Swansea. Will be looking to go from strength-to-strength as the season progresses. 7

Alan Browne

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The skipper has led by example. Operating in a preferred, advanced midfield role, there has been the energy about Browne that makes him so effective. Has picked up a couple of assists and will no doubt want to get on the score sheet soon, but the number eight has made a great start to a season where you felt PNE really needed him. 8

Duane Holmes

A constant livewire, the summer recruit has certainly added something new to PNE’s squad. His dancing feet in the final third and willingness to dribble at defenders has boosted North End’s final third threat. Holmes has two goals to his name and three assists, if you’re counting the penalty at Stoke. Ryan Lowe must be delighted with the American’s impact. 8

Will Keane

Preston would’ve been lost without him and he hasn’t half stepped up to the plate. Got off to the dream start with his equalising goal at Bristol City and is joint top scorer in the league with four. As well as the goals, his work rate, awareness and technique at the top end of the pitch - as the lone striker - has been so key. 9

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