Preston North End’s impressive start to the season continued as they came from a goal behind to beat Swansea City 2-1.

Two second half goals from Andrew Hughes and Duane Holmes made it three wins in a row and with 10 points from four games this is the best start to a Championship season since 2008.

Fantastic performance from Hughes

Andrew Hughes has been one of our most consistent performers for some time now. He was key at both ends of the pitch on Saturday. With Swansea already a goal up Jay Fulton was racing through on goal after a quick free kick and look set to make it 2-0. Before Hughes appeared and tackled with aplomb, similar to how he had done so in another situation against Sunderland two weeks previously.

A tactical change saw Hughes move to left back as part of a flat back four and he loves the opportunity to get forward when he can.

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When Alan Browne shaped up to whip a ball into the box it was only Hughes and Will Keane in there for Preston and they were surrounded by Swansea players. Yet Hughes managed to get their first and flicked a lovely header into the far corner. It set the tone for the rest of the game and for me he was the man of the match.

Preston North End v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Dave Howarth – CameraSport via Getty Images

Lowe gets it spot on

North End needed to change things up in the second half when they were still trying to get back into the game. Even with nine substitutes named on the bench these days, Lowe options are limited when it comes to making an attacking change.

There’s a lot of young players on the bench and Ali McCann and Ben Woodburn were the only senior options who weren’t defenders.

It was McCann who got the nod, replacing Kian Best which saw Preston move to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Brad Potts and Hughes moved to full-back with McCann and Ryan Ledson sitting in the midfield. Duane Holmes and Mads Frokjær played out wide with Browne just behind Keane.

It allowed us to play far more expansively and Swansea didn’t seem to know how to cope with it. There were a lot more runs off the ball and ultimately the change paid off with two nice goals in the space within 16 minutes of McCann coming on.

At 2-1, Lowe reverted to his trusted formation again as Jack Whatmough came on to add another defender into the backline, which helped us see the game out.

Holmes sweet Holmes

It was another impressive performance from Duane Holmes on Saturday. The summer signing from Huddersfield Town kept his place in the side after filling in for McCann at Hillsborough last week.

The American is always very lively going on tricky runs through the midfield. He’s also got a great eye for a pass often finding his teammates with nice through balls.

Most importantly he took his chance when it came to him. Frokjær had wasted a couple of good chances in the first half, but the Dane made up for it by nutmegging Jay Fulton and pulling it back to find Holmes in the box.

Holmes smashed his shot into the roof of the net to send the Town End into delirium as Frokjær stood there taking it all in for the second home game in a row.

Preston North End v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Dave Howarth – CameraSport via Getty Images

How does Whiteman and another striker fit in?

A fit Ben Whiteman would usually be one of the first names on the team sheet. He is still recovering from a hernia operation but is chomping at the bit to get back involved again.

He was at the tunnel at the end of the game congratulating his team and will be nearing full fitness in the coming weeks.

McCann, Browne, Holmes and Ryan Ledson have been the midfielders playing in his absence with Ledson having his best game of the season so far yesterday. Whiteman may have to gradually come back into the game with a few sub appearances before settling in you’d think with McCann and Browne in a midfield or with Browne moving up to play higher with Frokjær.

However if another striker is brought in which you would expect to be the case in the next week, that gives Lowe further selection headaches.

So far Keane has led the line very well with Frokjær able to support just behind. If we were to play two up front it would mean sacrificing another midfielder. Plenty of depth in the midfield areas now.

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