The 6 talking points from Preston North End's 2-0 win over Birmingham City

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Preston North End played out their final home game of the season in the best possible way, beating Birmingham City 2-0.

Goals in either half from Patrick Bauer and Brad Potts sealed the win for the Lilywhites but that did nothing to stop the play-offs going beyond their reach.

Here are six talking points from the game.

1. A good performance all round.

Partick Bauer celebrates opening the scoring.Partick Bauer celebrates opening the scoring.
Partick Bauer celebrates opening the scoring.

North End performed very well, across the pitch.

There was nowhere that PNE were second best and that showed in the result.

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That isn’t to say it was a quiet afternoon for Declan Rudd and everyhting was perfect becuase two excellent saves he made kept PNE in the lead and that is why it was a complete team


They played their opposition perfectly, got the ball into Jayden Stockley well, supported him admirably and were a nuisance and looked composed at the back.

2. Play-offs no longer possible.

Although PNE put in a top performance, in the grand scheme of things, it mattered not.

Cardiff City’s win against Middlesbrough means that Preston can no longer even match their points total.

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The win on the day did nothing to raise Alex Neil’s spirits after the game who was frustrated and hurt that his side had put themselves in a good position to reach the post-season but have

let it slip.

The best the Lilywhites can now hope for is to climb one place into seventh.

3. A home clean sheet.

It’s been well documented that PNE just don’t do home clean sheets this season, however they did end a long run without on Saturday.

The last time North End kept the opposition out at home was back in September, against Brentford, a 2-0 win.

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There is only a 3-0 home win over Wigan athletic to add to the short list, meaning just three clean sheets in PR1 throughout this campaign.

That isn’t to say that the defence hasn’t been good enough because it is, but hopefully looking forward to next season it is something that can carry over.

4. Attentions will soon turn to contracts.

Paul Gallagher spoke after the game, one in the PNE squad whos contract situation will need sorting.

Tom Clarke recently left the club and Gallagher’s deal also expires this summer.

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He’d be a huge loss and after the game time he amassed this season - and with his healthy injury record - he’s surely worth another year.

But looking further ahead, there are the issues surrounding Alan Browne, Ben Davies and Ben Pearson amongst others who have just one year left on their deals.

With the transfer market a complete unknown due to the impacts of Covid-19, it raises all sorts of questions.

There may be less offers on the table now and there may also be less money to invest into them, that all remains to be seen but with their future now confirmed, the time for deals being done is now approaching.

5. Experience gained.

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This is not the first time that PNE have pushed for the play-offs under Alex Neil, it is however the first time they have been well and truly invovled.

They’ve always been the team doing the hunting, this seaosn that changed,

The Lilywhites topped the table at one point but also looked very settled amongst the top six.

That obviously tailed off but what it has done is given the group of players more experience of being in those situations.

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The pressure of being favourites and being expected to deliver was new to the squad, you would thing that stands them in better stead for another push next season.

6. Lessons learned.

As is openly admitted by Alex Neil, North End are a patchy side.

On multiple occasions this season the Scot has had to arrest a slide and find a win from somewhere, of late, we’ve seen that in the form of different systems.

More time in the job can only give Neil greater understanding of his squad and how he can go about winning games, but with multiple formations having gained the 39-year-old’s trust, we could see a different type of PNE next season.

Either way, more knowledge can only be a good thing, and that also goes for the pressures that come with the play-offs and how to approach that as PNE manager.