Preston North End drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon as Ali McCann impressed as a second-half substitute.
PNE opened the scoring through a deflected Ben Whiteman goal. Matt Phillips grabbed a point for West Brom, scoring from close range before half time.
Neither side could find a winner in the second half, though West Brom had the better openings.
Frankie McAvoy made a few changes in the second half, with three home debutants coming on.
Three homes debutants in the second half
On came Ali McCann, Connor Wickham and Jacob Murphy to try and get North End over the line with a draw.
That’s exactly what happened, and we saw encouraging signs from all three.
Wickham was big and physical, winning one dangerous free kick. Murphy had a strong run down the left, showing the confidence and ability to beat a man.
McCann was combative in the middle, which fans will love.
McCann shows PNE what he’s all about
One moment will give PNE fans hope that McCann can ultimately help replace Ben Pearson in midfield.
Alex Mowatt was breaking forward from midfield for West Brom. McCann was able to get back in and execute a perfect scoop tackle, robbing Mowatt of possession and keeping it for himself.
McCann didn’t get carried away, but quickly recycled possession and got PNE moving forward again.
That’s what Pearson did so well in North End’s midfield. Ryan Ledson offers some of that aggressive nature, but doesn’t quite have Pearson’s athletic ability.
McCann appears to have that, and the superb challenge and Mowatt may be a taste of what’s to come from the Northern Irishman.