Scott wants speedy start for PNE

Scott Laird says North End have to start games better
Scott Laird says North End have to start games better
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Scott Laird says Preston North End have to rev up their engine from the start of matches after falling into the habit recently of only coming to life in the second half.

The Lilywhites went behind in the games with Fleetwood, Rochdale and, most latterly, Bradford.

While they battled back to beat Fleetwood, their slow start proved costly in the other two games.

In the FA Cup tie at Havant and Waterlooville, North End showed the worth of taking the lead early.

They were ahead by the seventh minute and cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win.

Defender Laird said: “We were slow again in the first half against Bradford and that let them into the game.

“We’ve seen in past seasons that if teams get a goal up at Deepdale they will sit back and try and hit you on the counter-attack.

“Bradford did that to us after we had let them get into the lead.

“In the first half of a few games recently we haven’t been at our best and it is vital that we play well right from the start of games.”

Laird was a 65th-minute substitute in the Bradford defeat, replacing David Buchanan.

While Preston had started in a 4-2-3-1 formation, they switched to a 3-5-2 at the interval and Laird was later introduced to pose more of an attacking threat down the 
left-hand side.

The 26-year-old will be hoping to get another slice of the action on Saturday as PNE head to Ashton Gate to play leaders Bristol City.

It is something of a local game for Laird, as he was born 40 miles down the road in Taunton.

The Robins suffered their first league defeat of the season against Swindon last weekend.

Said Laird: “We know how we feel when we lose a game and Bristol City will be feeling like that at the moment.

“They will be looking to bounce back from a defeat and so will we.

“Bristol City are a good team with a good crowd behind them.

“We have to go there and be as professional and dominant as we know we can be.”

Laird, who two years ago suffered a broken leg during a goalless draw with Notts County, has had to be patient in relation to first-team games this season.

He has started five games and come off the bench four times, with Buchanan having nailed down the left-back slot in the last couple of months.

At the start of the season, teenager Ben Davies had got the nod on that side of the defence.

Two of Laird’s starts came in an unaccustomed right-back slot, filling in there against Gillingham and Fleetwood in the absence of Scott Wiseman and Tom Clarke.

On Tuesday afternoon, Laird played in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Fleetwood at Springfields to maintain his match fitness.

He saw a late penalty saved by the Town keeper but a 90th-minute goal from Kyel Reid brought PNE level after Jamie Proctor had scored earlier in the second half from the spot.

Meanwhile, fans travelling to away games on the North End official coaches are reminded that the pick-up point will now be the Sir Tom Finney Stand car park.