Strong finish to the season from Jordan Storey mirrors Preston North End's campaign
Jordan Storey’s season has in many ways mirrored that of Preston North End, with inconsistency followed by a solid run.
Of Storey’s 26 starts in the Championship, 17 have come in a row since the beginning of February.
Before that he was in and out of the side as PNE as a team sought to find the consistency they craved.
That consistency has been found in the last few weeks under Frankie McAvoy and Storey has been a big of it.
He’s been part of a back three which has kept four clean sheets in a row and five in total since McAvoy took the interim head coach role.
Against Barnsley last week Storey got involved at the other end of the pitch too, scoring the first goal and setting up a second for Ched Evans.
On Saturday, North End play their final game of the campaign against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground (12.30pm).
It’s a game 23-year-old Storey is looking forward to before the summer break – one the football world didn’t get last year as one season rolled into another due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Storey told the Lancashire Post: “I’ve felt my game has been a lot more solid in this back end of the season.
“I’ve tried to simplify my game a bit and that has led to more clean sheets.
“This season has been a big learning curve, I’ve learned a lot even though at times it has been really tough for me.
“I feel I’m a better player for it and maybe it was a bit of a reality check for me. All players make mistakes and I found that all of mine were getting punished one way or another.
“So I’ve worked hard and I’ve not taken things for granted.
“Looking back, I thought I went into the season well after a good pre-season. But for one reason or another things didn’t work out for me that well at the start of the season.
“What I have learned this season I can hopefully take into future years so that I don’t hit a patch of form like the one I did earlier in the season.”
Storey’s confidence got another boost with his goal against Barnsley, only the second he’s scored in a Preston shirt.
Having given PNE the lead, he then headed on Tom Barkhuizen’s long throw in for Evans to net the second goal.
“The goal was a long time coming, it’s always nice to score and I got the assist too,” said Storey.
“I got a little bit of luck before it because when the ball bounced I was facing the other way.
“Fortunately it deflected across to me and I tapped it in. It was nice to get on the scoresheet, it had been a long time.
“The second goal came from a long throw and they are something we have been looking to take advantage of.
“We’d been looking dangerous from them, with Liam Lindsay or myself flicking them on.
“There is plenty of height in the team and it was nice to capitalise on that. My goal celebration wasn’t great and hopefully it can improve when the fans are back in the stadiums.
“It’s not the same celebrating in an empty ground as it is when you’ve got thousands of fans in.”
Storey is enjoying being part of the back three with Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes.
The 3-5-2 system is one McAvoy has started with in six of his seven games.
“Playing that way I feel we are so hard to beat,” said Storey.
“With Dan Iversen behind us, I just feel we aren’t going to concede. Dan has been superb for us, really stepped up to the mark when needed.
“With Sepp and Greg at wing-back, I think it is so hard for the opposition.”
After the upturn in results, Storey is of the view that McAvoy has to be in the running to land the job full-time.
He said: “Frankie has been really good and he does deserve a chance.
“The people at the top end of the club will know what is best and we’ll go along with it. I think it would be foolish not to look at Frankie though.”
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