Tom Sandells PNE pressview: Two successive wins for Preston have given players - and fans- a lift
This time last week the picture at Preston North End appeared very different.
The team had opened the season with three successive league defeats against Hull City, Reading and Huddersfield – a match they bizarrely lost without conceding a shot on target.
It made last Saturday’s game against Peterborough United, even this early on in the season, as a must-win.
The mood around the club was turning sour and the fans were making their voices heard.
It all seemed to boil over a little as captain Alan Browne had a brief disagreement with a fan after the loss to the Terriers.
It probably is not wise to linger on that flashpoint, although immediate post match emotions are always high and raw, whether you are on the pitch or in the terraces.
Despite what certain sections of the support think, I am certain the players do care when they cross the white line and losing hurts them as much as the fans.
It’s not just PNE fans who get emotional after games, every club is the same.
Obviously it was disappointing to lose to an own goal to Huddersfield but I detected signs of improvements in the performance and the team built on that against Peterborough.
I guess the fans voted with their feet at Deepdale against Posh. The attendance of 9,216 was the lowest league attendance since 2016.
It was only the third time since returning to the Championship that a crowd had dropped below five figures.
Of course, there will be some North Enders who don’t yet feel comfortable returning to stadiums because of the pandemic.
But what cannot be argued against is that there is discontent among many supporters.
Results are all important and North End’s poor start to the season has caused a great deal of consternation.
There has also been flak flying towards the boardroom with the perceived lack of investment in the first-team squad.
Credit should be given to the fans who did turn up against Peterborough. I thought they got behind the team and there was no negative energy around Deepdale.
They were rewarded with a much-improved performance – and that all-important three points.
Fast forward a couple of days and a sold out 1,774 following went to the Mazuma Stadium to watch PNE knock Morecambe out of the Carabao Cup.
It was a brilliant game of football, something we have all been waiting after the long period of football being behind closed doors.
It was pulsating, end-to-end, a comeback by the hosts but in the end a victory for PNE with four goals scored for good measure.
It is tough as a fan when your team under performs and you can understand the frustration.
But as we know wins go a long way to keeping the fans happy and let’s hope North End can build on the past two performances.
I have heard a lot of fans over the past week talk about how welcome these wins are but they don’t paper over the cracks.
Well if North End can go on a winning run, will there still be cracks to paper over?
I honestly believe this team has enough quality to be performing at the top end of the Championship.
Yes, it will be nice to see a player or two arrive before the transfer window shuts but recruitment is not that easy.
Unless you’re Manchester City where money is no object, then it’s a fine balancing act between finding the right quality of player for the right price.
Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.