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Preston now face a Graham Westley-style overhaul - and there are questions Ryan Lowe must answer

We all know that Ryan Lowe faces an enormous job at Preston, but it’s now looking like a Graham Westley-style overhaul facing North End.

When Lowe traded Plymouth Argyle for Preston, some wondered whether he was really making the right decision.

Plymouth were challenging for promotion to the Championship and Preston had been looking pretty stale for a while.

Lowe still felt that Preston were the right choice, believing he could get the club back on track.

The end of the season is in sight and it’s fare to say that the jury is still out on whether that decision was the right one.

Monday’s 4-1 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers leaves Preston in 16th place and likely to finish in the bottom half of the table.

The nature of that loss has rocked the fanbase; it already feels like the 1-0 win over Blackpool has evaporated away.

That’s three defeats from four in Lancashire derbies this season. Those three defeats have come at an aggregate scoreline of 7-1, with Preston meekly rolling over in big games.

It’s now clearer than ever that Lowe doesn’t need to tweak this squad, he needs to overhaul it.

The same failings are coming up again and again; a lack of fight and a lack of focus when the season is drawing to its end.

Lowe has seen more than enough of this Preston squad now and the axe falling on Josh Murphy and Izzy Brown shows that there will be a ruthless streak.

This feels somewhat similar to what North End needed back in the summer of 2012.

Say what you want about Graham Westley – many Preston fans have and will – but he was ruthless and gutted the Preston squad out.

A staggering 26 players left Preston permanently in the summer of 2012. Some were released, some were sold, but Westley completely re-tooled the squad.

In came 19 new signings, though Richard Wright remarkably falls into both categories as he signed and quickly left.

Was that revolution perfect? Absolutely not, but players like Paul Huntington, Scott Laird, David Buchanan, Jack King and January signing Joe Garner ended up playing a key role in the 2015 promotion.

It now feels like Lowe needs this too. To be blunt, there are too many passengers in this Preston squad and they won’t get Lowe where he wants to go.

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This squad is devoid of major quality and it will only get worse when three vital loanees – Daniel Iversen, Sepp van den Berg and Cameron Archer – head back to their parent clubs.

We do need to ask some questions of Lowe though; it’s not all just at the players’ feet.

Lowe has talked a big game and that has resonated with fans who were seeking more connection, more positivity, more hope.

Lowe is personable, a great character to get behind. When everybody was feeling low earlier this season, Lowe came in and gave the place a huge lift.

That isn’t all you expect from a manager though. On the pitch there are still a few concerns that leave North End fans wondering whether Lowe can walk the walk after talking the talk.

There have been a number of games of late where, when Preston have lost, they have lost heavily. Yes, Luton Town, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers are all in the top eight.

But to lose those three recent games to an aggregate score of 11-1? Preston looked miles short of the mark in all three games, barely putting up a fight.

North End still struggle to build attacks from open play. There is a lack of composure and guile on the ball – Blackburn probably couldn’t believe Preston’s passing on Monday night.

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Off the ball, Preston haven’t really shown consistent pressing patterns. The intensity off the ball just isn’t there right now and North End don’t look like a coherent pressing side.

We have to give Lowe some leeway here. This isn’t his squad and he hasn’t had a full pre-season with them.

Implementing pressing strategies is a little easier when you have players fully suited and geared towards that style. More will certainly be expected next season.

We can’t imagine that Lowe watches his beloved Liverpool without hoping to see his players fly around like Jurgen Klopp’s do.

There have been some promising signs under Lowe but a few that still look like a bygone era.

Let’s hope that Preston can complete a full-scale overhaul this summer and Lowe can really get Preston moving forward.

Without those improvements, North End will remain well short of the top six and looking somewhat enviously at Blackburn.

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