Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

It was a job well done by Preston in winning 5-1 against Wycombe in the FA Cup and hopefully it will give them plenty of confidence for the Championship games ahead.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 7th January 2018, 5:00 pm
Josh Harrop starts an attack in PNE's win at Wycombe (photo: Dave Kendall)
Josh Harrop starts an attack in PNE's win at Wycombe (photo: Dave Kendall)

Sometimes you just can’t win when you are up against a side from a division or two lower down.

If you get a victory, some people will say, ‘Well, you should have done anyway’.

Get beaten and you end up in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

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So for North End to go to Adams Park and win in the manner they did – scoring five goals – was impressive to say the least.

There were some really good goals scored, with Josh Harrop getting two different types of goal but both very good.

Alan Browne’s first-time shot to make it 2-0 was a great finish too.

What Alex Neil did was to field an attack which was lively and liked to move around.

There probably wasn’t an out-and-out striker on the pitch but their movement stretched the Wycombe
 defence and found the gaps to exploit.

The lower down the leagues you go, the skill-set reduces.

So while the Wycombe defence might normally be really solid at solid in League Two, having to cope with more movement and players rotating positions was hard to cope with.

I liked the way North End kept their foot on the gas and didn’t stop when they were 2-1 or 3-1 up.

They kept pressing for 
another goal and that will have pleased Neil.

He doesn’t seem to me like a manager who wants his sides to slacken off, whether that is in a game or during a training session.

When you are playing against a team lower down in the FA Cup, it often comes down to mentality. If the 
bigger club goes with the right attitude and is prepared to work hard, they will come out on top.

But if your mentality isn’t quite right, you can very easily come unstuck.

I’ve been on both sides of it – been in the minnows dressing room and also with the bigger team.

There have been a few shocks so far in the third round, with Stoke and Leeds getting knocked out.

So who do North End want in the fourth round draw?

Do you want the big club at home like they’ve had with Arsenal and Manchester United in the last few years?

Would it be nice to get one of the big boys away and get the pay-day that provides?

Or do you hope for one of the lower-ranked sides in the hope you beat them and go further in the competition?

A decent cup run can help with your league form – win any game of football and the confidence level is that bit higher for the next one.

For North End, it is back to Championship action at Millwall on Saturday.

That won’t be easy as 
Millwall are strong at home and it is a hostile place.

But Preston have been good away, they’ve won 
three out of the last four on the road.

Neil will be preparing them to go and win it.