The FOUR talking points from PNE's loss to Wycombe Wanderers
Preston slumped to their third away loss in a row on Saturday at Wycombe Wanderers.
Ryan Tafazolli scored from a corner in the first half and the Lilywhites could not find an equaliser.
Here are four talking points from the game...
1. A goal wasn’t coming
It wasn’t a game that PNE created many chances in, the best one fell to Brad Potts in the second half, who hit the side netting. Their best chance was a shot off target. It isn’t the first game in which PNE haven’t looked like scoring, in fact it’s more of a surprise if they are a threat throughout and are fluid.
It often seems to be the case that PNE have to work twice as hard just to get some chances on goal.
The way they have been playing just isn’t very conducive to creating chances, whether that is due to tactics, the overhaul of the players, fatigue – who knows?
The task for Alex Neil is to figure that out but when his side don’t really look like scoring, how can they find consistency in picking up results?
The most worrying thing about the defeat to Wycombe, and it’s also something that Alex Neil addressed post match, is that PNE were outfought.
Wycombe are fighting for their Championship status, which would take a special effort to maintain, but regardless of where North End are in the league you don’t want to see them outfought.
Preston are going nowhere – they won’t reach the play-offs nor will they go down.
But even if the Chairboys had a perceived extra motivation, it’s unlike this North End team to lack the fight.
If there is nothing to play for, there still needs to be maximum effort for those fans paying to watch.
3. The table, flipped
North End have now conceded four points to Wycombe Wanderers this season, as well as three to Sheffield Wednesday, a place above the bottom side.
Look another place further up and Rotherham United have done the double over the Lilwhites.
In total, North End have taken just four points from six games against the bottom three sides.
The ambitions of the club lies in reaching the top six and with recent league finishes, the hope was the same this season.
But if you can’t put away sides that are right at the bottom of the league, those results will come back to bite you.
You won’t have a 100 per cent record, likewise you’re also going to beat at least a couple of the sides near the top.
In the main, however, you need to be taking the opportunities to put struggling sides to the sword.
4. Calls for the manager to go
The calls for Alex Neil to be removed as PNE manager have rumbled on for some time but those shouts seem particularly loud at the moment.
The fanbase has been divided on this issue for some time.
And it can often be a vocal minority that is making the case.
But there is no one fan who has more right than another to their opinion and the form of PNE of late has been unpredictable, and they currently lie in the bottom half of the table.
There have been plenty of problems for Neil to
deal with – losing his two best players right at the end of the January window is one.
But the fractured North End fan-base, which is losing its motivation towards their club, also seems to be running out of patience.