The 4 talking points from Preston North End's 3-2 win over Bournemouth

Preston North End put an end to poor performances as they beat Bournemouth 3-2 at the Vitality Stadium on Tuesday night.

By Tom Sandells
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 4:45 pm

Goals from Tom Barkhuizen, Scott Sinclair and Patrick Bauer were enough for the three points, with Junior Stanislas and Sam Surridge scoring for the Cherries.

Here are four talking points from the game...

1. Another away win.

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Alex Neil speaks to Ryan Ledson and Tom Barkhuizen in the win over Bournemouth.

PNE's fine form on the road continues, losing only twice this season and winning the rest.

North End still top the away table, no side picking up more points, though Norwich City are level - and they're also the top away scorers in the division with 18 goals in eight games.

Their performances on Tuesday typified what we've seen from them this season on the road, they were combative quick to close down and put the pressure on and were very intelligent in what they did.

The first goal was a classic counter attack goal, the second a moment of brilliance and the third being clinical - a big part of the win.

Preston's away form continues to give life to their season and gives the fans something to be excited about and enjoy but it also just highlights more the need for home wins.

Had PNE even just won two more of their seven home games so far, which would be less than half having only won one, it would put the Lilywhites three points off top spot.

It shows how much the away success is carrying them but also how easily they could turn into contender with something even relating to home form.

2. Alex Neil hokey-cokey.

And we're off again, the Alex Neil hokey-cokey continues.

He's in at the moment, having just pulled off a great results but sure enough, should PNE lose their next game, he'll likely be out again.

The calls for his time at PNE to be under review seem to get stronger every week but there is also the ongoing battles between both camps of in or out.

After every win, the 'in' side of the fanbase gets to check on the whereabouts of the quietened 'out' crowd that day, and vice versa for a loss.

The toing and froing in the support only divides, at a time when it's tough enough to be together and to be one group.

There were questions over whether the players are playing for the manager and though to most that was never in any doubt, the performance against Bournemouth clearly showed their is plenty of fight in this squad for Alex Neil.

The commitment of these players should never come into question, off of showings from recent seasons and this one.

3. Wishing Patrick Bauer the best in his recovery.

One sad story to come out of an enjoyable win on Tuesday was the injury to Patrick Bauer.

Bauer suffered an Achilles injury that will rule him out for the rest of the season, Neil confirmed after the game, and you could hear shouts of discomfort coming from the German as he led on the receiving treatment.

It's a horrible sight to see a player down injured in such a way and having to be stretchered off, especially after scoring what proved to be the winning goal.

Bauer has been a key man at the heart of the PNE defence since joining on a free form Charlton and his absence will certainly be noticed, though it creates an opportunity for youngster Jordan Storey to step up or for Paul Huntington to add extra experience and close in on that 300 game mark.

It thins the PNE ranks at a hectic time of the season where injuries can quickly stack up, turning eyes to January.

4. Contracts.

The talk of the club for some time, Bauer's injury means that it's more important than ever to tie down Ben Davies' new deal.

The club have been in talks with all of their players with little time left, so it's not like it's catching them off guard, they're just yet to come to agreements with players.

Paul Huntington is on the verge of a new deal, which will delight every North End fan, but it's getting nearer to the sign or sell moment.

Should players decide not to sign, it's likely they will be sold in January so the club can at least get something for them.

Now whether the club also chooses to invest irrelevant of the contracts is another matter, with one of their first choice centre backs missing half of the season, it's certainly worth thinking about.

Ben Davies is integral to Preston, but so is Ben Pearson, Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson, with other important players also nearing the end of their deals.

After plenty of talking around the subject this is another element added to it and it's going to be sorted sooner or later.