Ridsdale: I’m as frustrated as PNE fans

Key injury: Scott Laird is one of a number of players to have been badly missed
Key injury: Scott Laird is one of a number of players to have been badly missed
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Peter Ridsdale acknowledges that Preston North End’s position in League One is ‘unacceptable’ but says the club will hold their nerve as they look for an improvement.

North End head to Colchester on Saturday in 17th place and having won just one of their last 12 league games.

The run has seen Lilywhites boss Graham Westley come under fire from disgruntled PNE supporters.

But Westley still has the support of the club, with Ridsdale doubting whether playing ‘musical chairs’ with managers is the best way forward.

That said, results swiftly have to take an upturn in fortune – otherwise the view behind the scenes at Deepdale will no doubt change.

Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, told the Evening Post: “What surprises me when criticism comes, is that’s when people talk to us – whether that be to myself, Mr Hemmings or Graham – it’s as if they think we aren’t watching the same football as them.

“The fact is we are watching the same matches and we are as frustrated as our supporters at the results.

“Therefore the message is very clear and that is 17th place in League One is not acceptable to anyone at Preston North End.

“We have to be challenging for promotion sooner rather than later, we have to find our way to winning football matches.

“And we certainly have to find a way of winning games at Deepdale again.

“Every supporter needs to understand that every waking hour is spent trying to find the formula to winning.

“It’s the challenge of the management in its entirety to put things right. The sad thing about football is the automatic reaction to a bad run is to get rid of the manager and have another one.

“It’s like musical chairs and this club has had four managers in the last four years.

“If every time we had a bad run of form you change the manager, you then risk the whole disruption of having to start all over again with the playing squad.

“There are plenty of examples of sides having held their nerve – you look at Sheffield Wednesday recently.

“Dave Jones was going through an extremely bad patch, they held their nerve and suddenly they have started to win matches again.”

Having assembled an almost entirely new squad over the summer, it might have been expected that PNE would start the season slowly before speeding up.

But the opposite has happened, with promising beginnings giving way to the recent poor results.

Said Ridsdale: “Having changed a lot in a short space of time, it might have taken a while for players to settle down.

“It probably started off better than anyone expected because it seemed to click straight away when you consider the performances against Huddersfield, Crystal Palace and Swindon.

“The away performances at Doncaster, Tranmere and Stevenage were good.

“Clearly we’ve been disrupted by losing Keith Keane, Scott Laird and John Mousinho.

“They are big players to be missing at the same time.”

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