Wing-back to the future! Ryan Lowe’s vision for Preston North End

Preston North End boss Ryan Lowe says there is an expectation on his wing-backs to chip in with goals.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 8:00 am

Brad Potts played at right wing-back in Monday’s win at Stoke and scored a goal of the season contender.

Josh Earl was involved in the build-up to Potts’ goal on the other side of the pitch, that pleasing Lowe.

He likes to use wing-backs primarily in attacking areas, hence his use of Potts there against Stoke and Ali McCann in the victory over Barnsley last month.

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Brad Potts celebrates after scoring PNE’s first goal at Stoke

Lowe told the Lancashire Post: “That is my style, I want wing-backs to get into those good positions.

“If you look at the record over the years of me managing teams in a 3-5-2, you can see I want my wing-backs to score goals.

“That is what Pottsy did at Stoke, Josh will start to score goals – whoever plays in the wing-back roles I want them scoring.

“I thought the passage of play and pattern of play to get us up there to score that first goal was fantastic.

“We have to keep believing and working hard on the training pitch to make sure we can get the wing-backs as high as we possibly can but also have a duty of care to defend as well.”

Lowe’s decision to play Potts at wing-back certainly caused a few eyebrows to be raised.

When the team sheet was published, the initial guess was that Alan Browne would play on the right – a role he filled for a spell last season.

However, from the kick-off Potts operated down the side.

Said Lowe: “I’ve seen Brad Potts play the right side of a front three and score goals.

“He played right-back in his early days.

“We thought he would give us a bit more power, a bit more pace, the lad can run all day.

“Ali McCann played there last time and did well but I did say when I came in that if we needed to make changes for tactical reasons, we would do that.

“At Stoke we wanted to make the team a bit bigger and stronger, that’s not being disrespectful to Ali or Sean Maguire.”

North End’s focus now shifts to Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Cardiff City, a game which will be played behind closed doors.

Lowe said: “We gave the lads Tuesday off because they didn’t get a day off last week.

“We’ll be back at it today and will build up towards Sunday – it gives us another day to prepare.

“One or two lads maybe need some game time but we’ll see what is available.

“I took 23 players to Stoke who were fit and available to play, that included three keepers. That was a decent number considering where we’d been at.”