Things for Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe to think during the international break about after Luton Town defeat

Ryan Lowe has two full weeks to ponder on Preston North End’s humbling 4-0 defeat to Luton Town last Wednesday.

By Tom Sandells
Sunday, 20th March 2022, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites arrived at Kenilworth Road in good spirits and there was plenty of positivity and optimism going into the game, thought that quickly evaporated as North End were sloppy to concede the opening goal and continued in that fashion for the rest of the game.

This two week period is an international break of sorts, with a free week having had the Blackpool game moved from March 19 to April 5, which is then followed by an international break up and down the leagues.

They are often seen as a chance to reset, or rebuild, or for some grand undertaking to take place.

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Preston North End's Ali McCann heads clear.

Instead, North End’s players are off to Dubai and the like as they are given a week off from training.

But what must Ryan Lowe consider over the extended break?

Firstly, he needs a response. North End did not fold as such against Luton, they did not give up the ghost neither were the unprepared to do the running, they were just poor and off their game.

It was suggested on social media that they were already on their holidays whilst the Hatters, whose schedule continues as normal this weekend, were far more focused on getting the result.

Preston North End's manager Ryan Lowe shows his dejection at the end of the match as his side are beaten 4-0.

It is hard to argue given the way the game unfolded and the lack of qualtiy from the Lilywhites on the night.

The season is far from over, there are still eight games to go and in there are two derbies, one just after the international break.

The performance at Kenilworth Road is not one we’ve associated with Lowe’s side so far and he will be sure to put that right.

How he goes about it is one that will pique the interest of many fans, as he will surely continue to find the answer to his left wing back dilemma.

It has been a glaring issue since Greg Cunningham was sidelined as Josh Earl’s form has not been good and square pegs have not worked.

Ali McCann was said square peg on Wednesday and was substituted at half time 3-0 down with a non metaphoric bloody nose.

Brad Potts has thankfully taken to playing right wing back well and has solved that issue on the opposite flank but nailing down the balance in the side has been troublesome.

It may well be that the PNE boss does not know his best XI, there is often a rotation between Ched Evans and Emil Riis which is to be expected but elsewhere there has been tinkering aplenty.

It is required. Lowe is still learning this squad and also assessing what he would need in the summer, but it is stick or twist almost.

He could experiment after the internationals, try new things and see how it goes. They will not go down so there is no risk.

But that is also giving up on the play-off places, distant as they may be, and jeopordising results in the derbies against Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers.

Those two games aside, whatever Lowe chooses to do the Lilywhites faithful will support but with the top six seemingly out of reach it increases the importance on those two local clashes on home soil.