Reading v Preston talking points: Dave Seddon believes it's time for Patrick Bauer to make a return to the PNE defence

Preston North End came back empty handed from their clash with Reading and prop up the fledgling Championship table after two matches.

By Dave Seddon
Sunday, 15th August 2021, 2:19 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th August 2021, 2:24 pm

It is the first time since the 2016/17 that they have lost their opening two league games – five years ago they were beaten four times in a row before putting points on the board.

With 44 games in front of them it shouldn’t be panic stations, however PNE won’t want this to be indicator of the campaign ahead.

Here are four of the talking points from the 2-1 defeat at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Jordan Storey has been part of a PNE defence alongside Liam Lindsay and andrew hughes which has shipped six goals from the opening two league games

1. North End’s strong finish to last season was built on strong defensive foundations. They kept five clean sheets in eight games.

Frankie McAvoy used a back three in seven of the eight games, and in six of them Jordan Storey, Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes lined-up together.

In the first two league games of this season that trio has looked anything but secure, with eight goals shipped.

PNE head coach McAvoy has used the word ‘fragile’ a few times when it comes to the defence’s work against Hull and Reading.

Could now be the time to bring Patrick Bauer back into the defence? North End haven’t rushed him as he comes back from a long-term injury, a sensible policy.

But perhaps a fresh face at the back could be just what is needed.

2. PNE’s front two Scott Sinclair and Emil Riis failed to fire against the Royals.

They were the obvious pair to start this game, even had Tom Barkhuizen and Ched Evans been available.

As it was, Evans still has an issue with his foot and Barkhuizen is the latest North End player having to self-isolate.

Sinclair had earned his place with two goals against Mansfield, Riis also having scored in that game and also on the opening day.

Unfortunately at Reading they got isolated, with the service not great to them.

Much of what did come to them was delivered by Daniel Johnson who was comfortably PNE’s starman.

3. Ultimately they couldn’t affect the result but North End’s three subs did make a positive impact on the game.

Brad Potts would win few popularity votes with the Preston faithful, however he gave something different when pressed into a striker’s role – replacing Riis.

The ball held up better and in the closing stages it helped Preston create chances in the box.

Ben Whiteman brought a decent range of passing, while Sean Maguire also did okay – it was his cross which Alan Browne put into the side-netting late on.

4. Daniel Johnson is still ice cool from the penalty spot. He missed one against Reading last season but at the same end of the ground made no mistake on Saturday.

I’m a nervous wreck in the build-up to DJ’s spot-kicks, with him taking an age to put the ball down and eye up the keeper. But his record from 12 yards remains impressive to say the least.

Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.