We need to invest in an Under-23s squad, says Preston North End Fans’ Panel member John Smith

It certainly was a different “Mad Friday “for the faithful as they tuned into ifollow and Sky TV in the warmth of their homes watching their team play at an eerie,cold and wet Deepdale.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 12:30 pm

The game was hardly box office but the vital win was more important than this as it kept us in tier 2 of the Championship table, after two disappointing away reverses had seen us sliding down the table towards the dreaded tier 3.

Midway through the first half Daniel Johnson’s penalty acted like a glass of Alka Seltzer in being a real settler for my nerves, and we looked very comfortable with this lead going into half time.

In the second half, Bristol City came out more and we were indebted to Declan Rudd who definitely earned his corn by making a couple of great saves to keep the lead intact.

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As the game entered its closing stages my teeth were chattering together like a pair of castanets.

However my relief was similar to Declan Rudd’s as he held on to the ball he had plucked out of the air under the crossbar from the games final corner before screaming out a loud “yesssss” when the referee blew for time.

Rudd got my vote for man of the match for his outstanding saves and also for not being dazzled by the fluorescent pink and yellow kit of his opposite number stood in front of him, after he was sent up for the last corner.

The win was an early Christmas present for the fans and a bit of a confidence booster for the team.

It is a pity that we cannot play Bristol City more often with this win being our 15th game without loss to my favourite opponents of recent years.

Another positive in the last two games has seen the return of Josh Earl to the first team after a couple of loan spells and his performances must surely give credence to the supporters of an Under-23s development squad an investment I believe would be more than justified due to the ever-rising transfer prices of today’s players.