Sean Gregan’s exclusive column

Preston North End's Will Keane and Paul Gallagher wheel away in celebration after the latter scores the opening goal''Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport''Football - The Football League Sky Bet Championship - Milton Keynes Dons v Preston North End - Saturday 15th August 2015 - Stadium:mk - Milton Keynes''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com
Preston North End's Will Keane and Paul Gallagher wheel away in celebration after the latter scores the opening goal''Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport''Football - The Football League Sky Bet Championship - Milton Keynes Dons v Preston North End - Saturday 15th August 2015 - Stadium:mk - Milton Keynes''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com
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A win, a draw and two clean sheets makes for a very decent start by Preston North End in the Championship.

The 1-0 victory at MK Dons on Saturday was a big result and every credit to them.

When you are a new team in a division, your first win is massive – whatever level.

Watching the game against Middlesbrough last week, PNE probably set up for a draw.

That was a pleasing first point in the bag, so to go to MK Dons and follow that up with three points was important.

MK were one of the top scorers in the Football League last season, so to keep a clean sheet there was excellent.

Two clean sheets in his opening two league games will be a big boost for North End’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

I saw Pickford play first hand when my side Darlington played Sunderland last month in a pre-season friendly. From what I saw that day, he will be a good signing.

Pickford has got a great kick which is becoming a big part of the game now.

He can ping it with some accuracy, it is not just a case of hoofing it up the pitch.

Goalkeepers are almost like an extra outfield player in certain aspects of their play.

With managers liking their centre-halves to split and a midfielder dropping deep, you need the goalkeeper to be comfortable with the ball at his feet.

When Pickford played in that friendly at Darlington, he was kicking the ball superbly.

I think that Preston have been astute in bringing him in on loan after not being able to get Sam Johnstone back.

You do feel a bit sorry for Johnstone because he played his part in getting Preston promoted last season and looked to be coming back on loan.

But the situation with the keepers at Manchester United has meant Johnstone has been on the bench for their first two Premier League games.

I’m not saying the United bench is the worst place to be in the world, but after being out on loan all last season at Doncaster and Preston – and playing regularly – it must be a bit frustrating for Johnstone.

North End look good in the keeper department. Back-up to Pickford arrived last week in Chris Kirkland.

That was a decent piece of business to get Kirkland, he’s very experienced and played a lot of Premier League football.

PNE’s winner at MK Dons came from Paul Gallagher, a player whose experience will be invaluable this season in my opinion.

After Wembley, Simon Grayson said straight away that he wanted to try and sign both Gallagher and Jermaine Beckford on permanent deals.

When Gallagher was here on loan for the last 18 months or so, you always felt that he was playing a division down in terms of his ability.

For me, he is a player who is at home in the Championship and he is back playing at his true level.

With him and Beckford having already been at the club on loan, some people did not regard them as signings this summer.

But had they gone and signed for other club, that would have left two very big holes in the squad.

Injury has forced Beckford to miss the opening games of the season but hopefully it won’t be too long before we see him back.

He is a huge danger in the penalty area and has been throughout his career.

When Beckford is back, there are great options up front for Grayson. Joe Garner will score goals, Will Keane has come in, the makings are there of a potent forward line.