Sean Gregan's exclusive column

Seven points in a week for Preston North End is not bad going but it might have been nine had Jordan Hugill put away the penalty against Wigan Athletic.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 19th February 2017, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 12:35 pm
Three Wigan defenders keep a close eye onPreston North End's Alan Browne
Three Wigan defenders keep a close eye onPreston North End's Alan Browne

I’m not going to get on the lad’s case about missing it, some of the best players in the world have had penalties saved or put them wide.

Hugill can put it down to experience, dust himself off and go again, what he’s not got to do is dwell on it and let it affect his game.

I only took one penalty in my career and am proud to say that I have a 100% record.

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That came in PNE’s play-off semi-final shoot out against Birmingham City at Deepdale in 2001.

I’d never taken one before that dramatic night and let’s just say I retired from taking them after that – one in one, the perfect record!

Looking back all those years, as skipper I felt I had to show responsibility and step up to take one.

The pressure probably was not on me as much as some others as Birmingham had missed their first two or three and the other lads who went before me had scored.

I just went for power and the relief as it hit the back of the net was overwhelming.

Back to the present day and an away draw to follow up two wins at home is pretty decent going.

Wigan were never going to make it easy for Preston because they need the points at the bottom.

However, if North End had been able to come away from the DW Stadium with a win, it would have closed the gap on the teams above.

It is going to be difficult for them to catch-up the teams in the top six but if they take it one game at a time, who knows?

Someone who has done very well this season is Ben Pearson, playing in that central midfielder role I used to enjoy so much.

He has also collected a few yellow cards which I think is an occupational hazard.

Pearson is on 12 bookings for the season and getting to 15 will mean an appearance in front of the FA.

It happened to me when I was at Preston, I reached the number of bookings which triggered having to go in front of a disciplinary panel.

David Moyes was manager and he went with me to the hearing in Birmingham.

Back then, there was no automatic ban but one could be imposed.

Moyesey argued my case and I got away with a fine but no additional suspension.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to a wonderful lady Barbara McKenna who sadly passed away recently.

Babs was Paul McKenna’s mum and she did the catering at the training ground.

What a great person she was, she could laugh and joke with the best of them but was warm and compassionate at the same time.

It was Babs’ funeral last Wednesday and the turn-out was superb – a lot of former players were there.

We have lost a special lady who meant so much to so many people. My condolences to her family and friends.