Sean Gregan’s exclusive column

Tom Barkhuizen's cross finds its way into the net
Tom Barkhuizen's cross finds its way into the net

Preston will have been satisfied with their draw at Brentford I would have thought, especially with them being down to 10 men for the last part of the game.

In recent years Brentford have been strong at home, Griffin Park is a traditional ground with terracing – the fans are close to the pitch.

So there tends to be a very good atmosphere and when I was playing, it was always a tough place to get a result at.

Greg Cunningham’s red card for two bookings was probably typical of many that you see in the modern game.

It is uncommon to go for two bad challenges, usually there is an innocuous one or a daft one.

With Cunningham’s, it looks like the first one was soft and then he was walking a tightrope with the referee, one which he fell off quickly.

Teams are generally well drilled about what to do when you get a man sent-off or when you play against a team going down to 10 men.

Quite often you will go 4-4-1, two solid lines where you challenge the opposition to break you down.

In the Championship, North End have been beaten only once since November.

They are going about their job quietly and despite being in seventh place, they have not had the attention which other clubs tend to get.

They are only three points outside the play-offs and if they were to force their way into the top six, surely some credit has to come their way?

Alex Neil is doing a great job, he prepares his team well and obviously does a lot of work on the opposition.

He has moved things on this season, building on what Simon Grayson did.

On the subject of Grayson, he has got the Bradford City job and I think that one will suit him down to the ground.

He has led four clubs to promotion from League One and I wouldn’t bet against him doing it a fifth time at Valley Parade.

Bradford still get some very good support and are in a division Grayson knows very well.

Back to North End and they have got a couple of big fixtures coming up.

Wolves come to Deepdale on Saturday with them well clear at the top of the table and on course for promotion to the Premier League.

After that, Preston go to Villa Park to play Aston Villa who moved into second place on Sunday.

When they play Wolves, I think they can treat it as a free hit almost.

The expectation will be on Wolves, the way they have played and picked-up results makes them the very strong favourites.

But North End have been playing with consistency and I’m sure Neil will prepare his side this week to try and win the game – not just contain the visitors.

If PNE can get something out of the game, it might make some people sit up and take notice.

I’m sure it will be a big crowd and good atmosphere, one that hopefully Neil’s men can thrive in.

Over the next few weeks if North End can continue to accumulate points, they are not going to be far away.

Their consistency could prove key in the long run.