Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

While it is still early days, Preston North End will want to get off the mark sooner rather than later in the Championship.

Sunday, 14th August 2016, 6:00 pm
Preston left-back Greg Cunningham gets ahead of Fulham's Tom Cairney at Deepdale

It is only two games and if you lost two on the bounce in October or November, there probably would not be too much concern.

At the start of the season though, it is highlighted more, you look at the table and see a group of sides with no points on the board.

PNE do have some good company down there, with Newcastle and Leeds among the sides still to get off the mark.

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Believe me, if Preston are still in and around Newcastle in May, they will at the right end of the table!

Why North End have not got going yet, it is hard to put your finger on.

They have done the same sort of pre-season that they have in previous seasons and I don’t think fitness is an issue.

Sometimes, it just takes teams a bit of time to settle into a way of playing.

Simon Grayson won’t have been happy with how his team played in the first half against both Fulham on Saturday and particularly at Reading the week before.

They went a goal down in both of those and then had to chase the game.

At this level of football, the first goal in a game can very often be so important.

Yes, teams can come back from being behind to win a game, but more often than not, the side scoring first will get something from the game.

North End need to be right at it from the first whistle, try and stamp their authority on a game rather than allowing the opposition to get on top and then having to chase things.

It is Derby County next at Deepdale on Tuesday night and that won’t be easy.

They are regarded as one of the favourites for promotion and spent big last season.

That said, Derby have only taken one point from their first two games.

The league table only starts to take shape after 10 games or so, hence it being too early for anyone to look at it and think they are going to do well or struggle.

Three points against Derby would be very welcome though.

Over the last few days there has been speculation about Rangers wanting Joe Garner.

Personally, I hope that PNE can keep hold of Garner as he is a player I really like.

After scoring a lot of goals in 2013/14 and 2014/15, he did find it a lot more difficult last season.

But there is a lot more to his game – he is a striker who works hard and keeps defenders occupied.

If the goals aren’t coming, Garner is still tough to play against – I marked him a few times earlier in his career.

I’m not sure if a move to Scotland would be of benefit to his career.

I’m sure Rangers pay quite well and they are a big club with a great stadium and training facilities.

It is not the best standard of football in Scotland, though – it is certainly no better than what he is playing now with Preston.

One of my team-mates when I was at Oldham, had played in Scotland with St Mirren.

He used to say that the standard of the SPL, apart from the Old Firm games, was more akin to League One.

You never know what goes on behind the scenes when a player is subject of transfer speculation.

A lot of it can be down to agents wanting to earn money and move people on, that is the way of the world now.