Sean Gregan’s exclusive column

Preston North End's Tom Barkhuizen celebrates scoring his side's equalising goal
Preston North End's Tom Barkhuizen celebrates scoring his side's equalising goal
Share this article

Four points taken from two difficult away games made it a very good week for Preston North End.

With the way results had been going, you might have taken a draw from both games if offered that before.

So to have gone to Bristol City, who were flying, and beaten them on their own patch was a superb result.

Then to follow that up with a draw at Norwich was very decent.

Looking back, I’m sure that the international break did wonders for PNE.

It allowed two or three of the injured lads to get closer to fitness,Ben Davies, Calum Woods and Darnell Fisher have come back in.

Just as importantly, it was a chance to everyone to have a couple of days away, down tools and clear minds.

A bit of a break, even for just for two or three days, works well.

The fact that PNE have gone three games unbeaten since the break, is telling.

With players coming back from injury, at least Alex Neil can now look at the squad and have different options.

Neil was clearly pleased to have gone back to his old club Norwich come away with a draw and a good display.

I don’t think there was too much animosity knocking around but when a team meets its former manager, they will always want to put one over on him.

That made the draw on Saturday even better and it was good to see them bounce back from going behind as they’ve not done that too much this season.

A player North End have turned to in the last three games is Paul Gallagher.

He is someone who I have always rated and we’ve all seen what he’s done over the last few years at Deepdale.

Gallagher has quality on the ball and you can rely on him to put in good set-pieces during games.

He’s got a few more years on the clock now but has adapted his game.

Simon Grayson moved him to a deep role a couple of seasons back and Neil had him there against Norwich.

Mind you, he was playing in a wider role at Bristol City and came up with the first goal when he popped up in the box.

North End now have a clear week to recover from the two away games and get ready to face Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale.

After picking-up points on the road, the home form is the next thing which Neil will be looking to address.

Three out of the next four are at Deepdale and it would be good to see a decent amount of points on the board.

This is a tight division with clubs bunched within a points of one another.

Wolves are starting to pull away at the top and have emerged as the best side in the Championship by a long chalk.

But Middlesbrough in seventh place are only three points ahead of Preston, with Derby County in sixth place three beyond Boro.

If a team can string three or four wins together, they can quickly move up the table.

In the Championship, that is hard to do but it can be done.