Preston North End ground out a 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Tuesday night. After a slow start, they grew into the game, and became a lot more comfortable.
They couldn’t find a winner, but the unbeaten team continues, and in truth Stoke were a good side, so it’s not the worst result.
There were some great individual performances, from players who have been on a good run of form recently. In truth there haven’t been many if any at all who have underperformed of late.
For me though, the following players stood out on Tuesday night, and are three huge players for the club this season:
He’s now back to the extremely high level he was at with us last season. Iversen makes himself look very big in one on one situations and spreads his body to pull of great saves. He made a superb one from Nick Powell in the first half, when it looked like he was certain to score another. It led to Sky Sports comparing him to another Dane in Peter Schmeichel. He kept us in it in the first half when Stoke were applying the pressure early on.
Iversen will win many points on his own for PNE this season, and is destined for far bigger and better things in the future. The only slight criticism I could make is his distribution can improve. There are a few wayward kicks per game, that end up giving the possession back to the opposition.
It’s so good to have the big German back in defence. He will throw himself at everything. He broke his nose 10 days ago, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. Any Championship striker will struggle up against him. He’s commanding in the air, and also great at tackling on the ground as well. He rarely gets beaten for pace, and Jordan Storey will only improve playing alongside him.
Nick Powell and Jacob Brown for Stoke had the ability to cause us problems, but Bauer snuffed out any danger on numerous occasions. The centre-back came into the side at the start of this unbeaten run in the league, starting with the winner against Peterborough. He’s by far our best defender, and so important for this season.
DJ continued his fine form leading the side as captain. PNE were giving Stoke too much time on the ball and he started to close down the defenders. He stopped them playing it out from the back so easily, and helped turnover possession a few times.
In the past DJ has been considered to be lethargic by some fans, but his energetic performance on Tuesday showed that’s not the case. He showed some good touches, and nearly played in Josh Murphy through on goal late in the game, but the ball just needed a bit more pace on it.
He’s the best chance Emil Riis has of having a ball played through to him to run onto. Sometimes when Johnson does have the ball in the number 10 position he lacks options to pass to, with no wingers in the side. It’s something Frankie McAvoy has to work on, because DJ is looking good this season, and we have to get the most out of him.