Preston North End talking points - Robbie Brady, strikers and a big week in the transfer market

Preston North End got their second pre-season win of the summer on Saturday, as they beat Accrington Stanley 1-0 at the Wham Stadium.
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Emil Riis’ first half goal gave PNE everything they needed to secure the victory but they did have other chances to extend their advantage.

Riis saw a chance go begging from six yards out whilst striker partner Ched Evans saw a shot saved from similar distance later on – Daniel Johnson also missed a penalty.

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It was a much needed win for Ryan Lowe’s side, although results aren’t everything in pre-season it is a good habit to get in nonetheless and is the first success for the Lilywhites since their opening game against non-league Bamber Bridge.

Preston North End striker Emil Riis.Preston North End striker Emil Riis.
Preston North End striker Emil Riis.

PNE were good value for their win in the end, neither Freddie Woodman nor Dai Cornell had much if anything to do between the sticks – Woodman was forced into one save before immediately being withdrawn.

It is also almost a warning for Preston, if you don’t take your chances you can’t get yourself a more comfortable win. But at this point in pre-season, in the sunshine, a close encounter is not such a bad thing.

Robbie Brady again showed his quality on PNE’s left flank having done so in Spain, his delivery looks to be a consistent threat and it was his cross that Riis should have converted from six yards out.

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He has real intensity in his game, he presses hard and punches passes into his teammates before taking off to provide an option in an attacking setting.

The chance creation is also promising, not taking them is disappointing but it is better to be creating them and fluffing them than to not even look like scoring.

It was clear however that there is a lack of depth up front. Lowe wants more signings before the Hearts game on Wednesday and he certainly needs more reinforcements up top.

Evans and Riis are a fine partnership but outisde of that is Mikey O’Neill, who has three career games to his name, and Ben Woodburn who prefers to play in midfield.

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Sean Maguire is set to be sidelined for around six weeks so that adds further pressure on Riis and Evans as they look to manage their way through pre-season without harm, ready for the Championship.

Evans looks back at it however, last season was plagued by lingering injuries which are now behind him. He looks sharp and is a good option for Lowe.

He knows he must score more this time around and the desire is there for the 33-year-old, he proved plenty of a nuisance for the Accy backline without scoring and won a penalty for North End.

We’re moving into what could prove to be a very big week for PNE, Lowe seems to be becoming a bit frustrated with a lack of acquisitions and time is running out to get them in whilst the games don’t matter.

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It’s tough to come in and jump straight into a Championship season, particularly if it is to be a young player from the Premier League.

Not only will the week impact PNE’s preparations for the new season, it will also impact the supporters’ optimism.