Every club will have a team they believe are their ‘bogey team’. Well, it seems Preston have found a bogey manager.
One of football’s great quirks is how some teams just end up failing to beat another time again and again. You could probably wager that North End are the bogey team of many others; most likely Bristol City, given our great record against them in recent seasons.
Now though, Preston have run into a bogey manager. Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Millwall was a source of major frustration, as North End were way below their best and got everything they deserved in a disappointing defeat.
Gary Rowett’s side showed why they’re a tough proposition for any Championship side, but Rowett himself is becoming a thorn in Preston’s side.
Since North End’s promotion back to the Championship in 2015, Preston have faced Rowett seven times, across his spells with Birmingham City, Derby County, Stoke City and now Millwall.
A manager who often makes his sides hard to beat, Rowett has managed to go unbeaten against Preston even with four different sides, winning three times and drawing the other four – as seen below.
December 15 2015: Preston 1-1 Birmingham
April 19 2016: Birmingham 2-2 Preston
September 27 2016: Birmingham 2-2 Preston
August 15 2017: Derby 1-0 Preston
April 2 2018: Preston 0-1 Derby
August 18 2018: Preston 2-2 Stoke
February 15 2020: Preston 0-1 Millwall
Three games were under Simon Grayson, and four now under Alex Neil. No matter who our manager is, no matter who his own players are, Rowett just seems to have Preston’s number.
Maybe this speaks of Preston’s inability to break down stubborn sides, especially those who play a back three or five, but Saturday’s defeat was just another case of Rowett knowing how to get a result against North End.
Whether it’s just one of football’s quirks or an issue with Preston’s approach play, Rowett has done it again in what is becoming a strange pattern for North End.