Sean Gregan's exclusive column: North End must start looking up

Brandon Baker in action for PNE against Hull
Brandon Baker in action for PNE against Hull

We might only be 13 games into the season but psychologically it’s a big thing for North End to be out of the bottom three.

You’ve just got to look up now. They had some good results before the international break against Aston Villa and Wigan and this is another game unbeaten and another point on the board.

The season really started at Villa Park and they’ve just got to crack on now.

If Chris Maxwell doesn’t save the penalty after all the drama there then Steve Bruce might still be in a job and Preston are thinking ‘here we go again’.

Then Wigan are new to the league this season but have been playing some good football so to smash them in a derby after that was great.

They might not have wanted the international break to come in a way but it’s now five points from three games so it’s a case of onwards and upwards.

One big thing is that they seem to have stopped the rut they were in where they couldn’t stop conceding goals. That’s a real positive.

Hull hit the woodwork a few times and Chris Maxwell made a few good saves but you make your own luck in a way and maybe they are starting to get a bit of the rub of the green now.

Earlier in the season one of those might have gone a bit lower and flown in off the bar.

It may not have been the best performance but when you are down the bottom like PNE are then it’s not about performances it’s about results.

They’ve probably played better this season than they did at Hull and lost.

You want to get the performances and the results going together but when you’ve been on the run Preston have that doesn’t matter at the moment.

They’ve got to pull away from that relegation zone and start trying to add in better displays while picking up points along the way.

There’s an opportunity to keep things going this week with home games against Brentford and Rotherham.

Alex Neil will be looking for at least four points and if they could get six it would really get things going.

There’s no easy games in the Championship, it’s probably the toughest league in the world outside the Premier League.

Brentford are a good side and Rotherham are fighting for their lives as they always do.

North End are at home though and it’s up to them to take the game to their visitors to try and pick up some points.

After his goal against Villa it was Louis Moult who was on target off the bench again against Hull.

I’m sure he might have a word with the manager soon and ask for a start.

None of the centre forwards are ripping it up in terms of goals and all he can do is keep doing what he’s been doing off the bench.

He will be working hard in training and that’s something the manager will be taking notice of.

Every goal he scores is a little dig in the ribs to the manager to say ‘look, it’s my time to start’.

You’d imagine that will come pretty soon after two really important goals.