Matt Hudson being pitched in for his Preston North end debut on Sunday at Leeds was quite similar to what happened a few years ago with a very skinny Andrew Lonergan.
In the 2000/01 season when we were pushing for the play-offs at this level, we had injuries to a couple of our keepers and Lonners – then a teenager – came in for his league debut against Watford at Deepdale. He had played a cup game earlier that season but what a test for the young lad it was, playing in front of a big crowd and on TV too.
I can only assume that Hudson had the same sort of thoughts running through his mind at Elland Road, as Lonners had done all those years ago.
Obviously, things were a bit different on this occasion with Hudson coming on during the game when Jordan Pickford was sent-off.
He probably didn’t have much time to get nervous, it being a case of getting his gloves on and getting straight into the action.
The lad was unlucky to be beaten by an own goal and he coped well with the occasion.
Trust me, Elland Road is not the easiest of grounds to play at for Leeds players, never mind visitors.
So well done to Hudson and hopefully he can continue his development in the months and seasons to come.
North End will of course be disappointed to have lost at Leeds, however it happened.
They coped well with being a man down and can count themselves unlucky to lose.
As for Pickford’s red card, Leeds can be an intimidating ground for officials.
I played for Leeds for a couple of years – they had just dropped out of the Premier League – and the fans are very vocal there.
They will have been screaming at the referee and the linesman when Pickford came out of his box – baying for blood.
I don’t care what anyone says, human nature is such that they can get intimidated during incidents like that.
Hopefully Pickford’s red card will get overturned on appeal, although that won’t make up for what happened in the game itself.
It seems likely that he will only have a couple more games left for North End, with his loan spell from Sunderland likely to be cut short in the new year.
Over the last two or three years, Preston have done well in the loan market when it comes to bringing in young, quality keepers.
But maybe it’s time to try and bring in a permanent No.1 now, get someone signed up on a contract, knowing they aren’t going to be called back.
When I was at North End, we had David Lucas and Tepi Moilanen battling for the gloves, they really pushed each other.
It would be nice to have something similar now, have Chris Kirkland and Hudson pushinga new first-choice.
I suppose an obvious one is trying to bring Sam Johnstone back – ideal if that was permanently.
North End go into the Christmas programme in 16th place, which is pretty good going for a newly-promoted side.
Boxing Day is the half-way stage of the season and that is a good time to reflect on how things have gone so far.
After a slow start, they have picked up in the last couple of months.
While they are not scoring loads of goals, their defensive record is impressive.
Maybe with two or three signings in January to give the creative side a lift, they can really push up the table and finish strongly.