St Ledger admits to TV pressure

Sean St Ledger admits the fall-out from the 'Big Ron Manager' television series piled on the pressure when he made his Deepdale switch last summer.

In the programme, St Ledger was seen arguing with former Deepdale youth coach Steve Bleasdale, then the manager of Peterborough United.

The fly-on-the-wall documentary also featured ex-Manchester United boss Ron Atkinson, who arrived at London Road as a self-styled troubleshooter months before St Ledger's 225,000 switch to Preston.

Big Ron and Bleo clashed so much that Bleasdale quit in front of St Ledger, and his stunned team-mates, an hour before a crucial game in the race for the play-offs.

"I've had a lot of stick for the programme, but it wasn't a true reflection of me," said the Deepdale centre-half. "Maybe the programme put a bit of extra pressure on me when I signed for Preston.

"Some things happen in life, though, don't they?

"But, really, it is amazing how many people have seen and remember the 'Big Ron' series.

"I even get stick from linesmen about the programme during a game.

"It is a bit of banter, a good laugh, I suppose. I was shopping in Manchester the other day and this guy stopped me and said, 'Are you the lad from Big Ron Manager?'. – it is very strange to get that public attention.

"But that episode is firmly in the past now and all I'm concentrating on is doing my best for Preston. I'm trying to let my football do the talking and repay the faith that Paul Simpson has put in me."

Meanwhile, Deepdale defender Youl Mawene is firmly on the comeback trail and could be back to help North End's promotion push this season.

Mawene suffered cruciate and medial ligament damage in the pre-season friendly against Manchester United, and it was thought that would rule him out of the remainder of the campaign.

But Simpson says that Mawene could yet play some part this season. He said: "We are hopeful that he may be back in training at the end of February.

"The specialist has given a positive update, and now Youl is in Paris doing the next stage of his rehabilitation programme.

"He saw the doctor in France a week ago, and the next stage is an intensive rehab programme in Paris at the medical centre where he had the operation.

"We'll see how it goes after that, but it is definitely a positive development.

"Maybe February could be a bit optimistic, because it was such major surgery.

"However, Youl appears to be ahead of schedule, and it is really encouraging news.

"We can't push it, though, because there can be little setbacks along the way and we have to be patient and make sure we do everything right to make sure Youl makes a full and complete recovery."