Four Preston North End talking points as the shares are spoiled with Rotherham United

Preston North End's Liam Lindsay celebratesPreston North End's Liam Lindsay celebrates
Preston North End's Liam Lindsay celebrates | CameraSport - Alex Dodd
PNE remained unbeaten but had to settle for a point as they drew 1-1 with Rotherham United

Another point from a losing position

It’s an excellent team trait to have and Preston North End picked up their eighth of the season on Saturday, with Liam Lindsay heading home 10 minutes after Jordan Hugill’s opener. The Millers hit the front out of nowhere in truth, with North End the team firmly in the ascendency at that point and threatening to break the deadlock. But, Rotherham are a gutsy side who stick to what they are good at and never give in - Hugill’s endeavour to turn a lost cause into a shooting opportunity typified that.

And, for all the rough and tumble in the ex-PNE man’s game, his shooting ability from distance is known. His goal was a carbon copy of a couple he scored in Preston colours and a cruel blow to Ryan Lowe’s men at the time. There has been no panic when trailing this season, though, and North End’s equaliser before half-time was crucial. The game was then set up for them to go and win, with Lowe making a strong triple sub on the hour, but it just wasn’t to be.

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Brady’s first start of the season

Robbie Brady for Liam Millar was one of two changes on the day. A calf issue had ruled the number 11 out of the early part of the campaign but Lowe - as he did at Rotherham last season - called upon him from the off. His performance appeared to split supporters come full time, with Brady making way for Millar midway through the second half. The Republic of Ireland international sent in a glorious corner for Lindsay’s leveller and made some smart forward passes into dangerous areas.

On the flip side, there were loose moments where Brady needlessly conceded possession or tried a pass that nobody else in yellow expected. He does have a habit of doing that; perhaps as a player who has played at the highest level and wants to provide the magic pass. There is undoubted quality in his left foot and that was showcased for the assist, while he completed four accurate crosses and the same number of accurate long balls. Brady recorded four key passes too and defended reasonably down the left; that bit more care may just not go amiss.

“That’s what Rob brings, that moment of quality,” said Lowe. “He was disappointed coming off on 70 minutes but he’s done his job and got an assist. He has some fantastic quality. That is what we want from him and then we got fresh legs on. We rested (Liam Millar) after he stayed on with cramp for 15 minutes (vs Birmingham). I spoke to him in the week to say it’d be a tough game and that we couldn’t risk him.”

Osmajic leads the line admirably

Milutin Osmajic equipped himself pretty well on Saturday, operating as the sole centre-forward once again. North End struggled to provide the Montenegrin with quality service but he battled away and looked after the ball responsibly when it went up to him. Osmajic backed into defenders and was as strong as an ox. His touch was sharp, with some good awareness shown and first time passes too. He had the fewest touches of any outfield player to start the game, but the 24-year-old kept running the hard yards and saw a late shot blocked. His runs off the ball were always there and all it needed was for a cross to land at his feet, but nobody in yellow could find the delivery.

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“Yeah, he was excellent,” said Lowe. “And when we get bodies up to him, he can link up. I thought Mads (Frokjaer) got himself into some good positions when he came on, but gave the ball away too cheaply. I said to him coming off that he needs to take the ball, drive and slide it for his mate. He knows and is probably disappointed he’s not in the team, but he’s got to get that out of him and start being what he can be - which is a match winner, whether that be scoring or creating.”

Give the hosts some credit

With respect to Rotherham they are a team plenty will look at and expect to take three points from. And there was a degree of expectation for North End to deal with on Saturday, in front of a sold out away end. But, anyone who has seen the Millers over the years - especially at home - knows they are no pushovers. Rotherham pride themselves on hard work and organisation, with manager Matt Taylor having to make the most of limited resources. The hosts sent crosses into Preston’s box, from high, wide areas at every opportunity.

Preston enjoyed large spells of possession and really ought to have taken all three points, but Rotherham put bodies on the line and made PNE work hard for their point. On another day, Lowe’s men potentially score a couple of second half goals and head home happy, but on this occasion the Millers held firm. Hugill’s goal from distance was their only shot on target in the game, but Preston have picked up plenty of points this season without creating a great deal. Rotherham will take points off teams on their own patch and while the point felt frustrating come full time, it may not be a bad one in the long run for North End.

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