Sean Gregan’s exclusive column

Preston North End are dejected as Fulham's Denis Odoi scores his side's equalising goal to make the score 2-2

in stoppage time
Preston North End are dejected as Fulham's Denis Odoi scores his side's equalising goal to make the score 2-2 in stoppage time
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Conceding in the 96th minute at Fulham was a real kick in the teeth for Preston, denying them what would have been a great win.

I still think a draw against a very good Fulham team at Craven Cottage is a decent enough result, but when you get that close to victory it can feel like a defeat.

North End played a very high pressing game which worked well for a lot of the game but maintaining that intensity for 90 minutes is difficult.

Playing that way, you need to know when to press and when to sit off for a bit.

Fulham’s equaliser came beyond the five minutes which was put on the board.

Yes, I know what the fourth official puts up is the minimum time but it does infuriate players, managers and fans all the same.

You could almost argue against putting the board up and just getting on with it until the referee blows.

On this occasion, it has worked against North End but it might be that at some point this season, they will benefit from the referee playing a bit more time.

It was good to see Jordan Hugill getting another goal and Ben Pearson back.

But Sean Maguire going off was a blow and hopefully his absence won’t be a long one – when you’ve got a style of play and formation which is quite settled, you don’t want disruptions.

Preston are nine matches unbeaten now which is a very decent run.

There are a few draws in there but psychologically for the players, being unbeaten can be a big thing and brings extra confidence.

The more I see and hear of what Alex Neil is doing, the more impressed I am.

I like his style, he clearly has a lot of belief in the squad and believes they can do well in this division.

Neil showed at Norwich that he could take a side to the Premier League, and the PNE fans will be hoping that he can do the same here.

He has a confidence in his ability and players do tend to respond well to that.

If he is setting-up to win games, no matter where they are playing, that transmits itself down to the squad.

Sometimes if a manager is setting up 4-5-1 and playing not to get beat, players might start to doubt themselves.

North End’s next game is at Wolves who went top of the Championship with a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday.

Credit to Wolves, they have started the season ever so well and by all accounts are playing some very nice football.

They’ve got Ruben Neves in their midfield who cost £15m, that’s some player and some amount at this level.

I’m sure Neil will go there and enjoy the challenge of trying to get a win, just as he tried to do at Fulham.

When I played for North End, I had a decent record playing against Wolves at Molineux.

We won on successive Boxing Days there and in one of those games I scored with my backside!

David Healy chested a ball towards goal at a corner, I tried to get out of the way but it hit me and flew past the Wolves keeper.