Three Preston North End players who have caught the eye so far this season
It has been a mixed bag of a start to the season for Preston North End, with a win, a draw and two defeats in their opening four league matches.
There was progress to the third round of the Carabao Cup with victories over Mansfield and Derby before Brighton knocked them out.
Here we look at how three of the North End players have performed in the first block of fixtures.
1. Scott Sinclair: The winger went into the current international break as PNE’s leading scorer, having bagged three goals in the Championship.
Sinclair was on target from the penalty spot at Norwich, with him then netting twice in the 4-2 win at Brentford.
His double against the Bees saw the 31-year-old show striker instincts, both finishes being in the box.
You would probably best describe Sinclair as a wide striker or a narrow winger – he’s not a No.9, while he is not a winger who hugs the touchline either.
The signs are that he is settling in at Deepdale after January’s move from Celtic.
By his own admission, he found the first few months difficult, primarily due to getting his family settled in.
As well as his goals this season, he played a big part in Darnell Fisher’s goal at Norwich.
Against Derby in the cup, his introduction off the bench, together with Tom Barkhuizen and Daniel Johnson, helped swing the game PNE’s way.
2. Ryan Ledson: If you had to pick out North End’s most consistent performer so far this season, the midfielder would be it.
The run of games he got at the end of last season has continued into this campaign and he has grasped the opportunity.
He is not having to be Ben Pearson’s deputy, rather Ledson has formed a good partnership with him.
With Pearson happy to sit in front of the back four, Ledson has been able to play further forward in the ‘8’ role and his key-pass statistics are up there in the upper reaches of the Championship.
His defence-splitting pass to find Sinclair in the build-up to Fisher’s goal at Norwich was an example of Ledson’s growing confidence.
3. Patrick Bauer: The German watched the first Championship game of the season from the bench as Alex Neil opted to use Ben Davies and Jordan Storey at the heart of the defence.
He’s fought back strongly, though, and started all the league and cup games since.
Bauer has in the main been back to his usual solid self, commanding in the air and quick to clear his lines.
In the first half against Brentford, he and Davies didn’t look as comfortable as they might do, finding Ivan Toney a tough customer.
After the break, though, both took far more of a grip on the game and helped the play flow towards the other end as PNE came from 2-0 down to win 4-2.
Bauer got an assist too, meeting Joe Rafferty’s cross in the air to head down for Sinclair to fire home Preston’s first goal.