Preston North End’s winless run continued on Saturday afternoon, drawing 0-0 with Derby County. Tom Barkhuizen has now made his feelings clear.
This was another drab performance.
Preston fans turned up in their thousands to not only cheer North End on, but also say goodbye and pay tribute to Trevor Hemmings.
What could have been a roaring send-off and a much-needed performance to attract fans back to Deepdale ended up being a huge disappointment.
Preston were flat, uninspired, unimaginative, second best all over the park.
Winger Barkhuizen made his long-awaited return to the side and has now fronted up like few have in recent memory.
Barkhuizen left no stone unturned when speaking at today’s press conference.
Barkhuizen admitted that Preston are lucky to have Daniel Iversen to save them.
He admitted that the 3-5-2 system isn’t working.
He admitted that beating League One sides in the cup is no good when you can’t win Championship games.
He admitted that Preston don’t look like dominating a game.
These are all things that North End fans have felt for weeks, months even.
In three home games since beating Swansea in August, Preston have managed just seven shots on target. Two against West Brom, two against Stoke, three against Derby County.
You can say that North End have only lost one in seven league games. But there have been no wins in that time.
It’s refreshing that Barkhuizen has spoken so honestly. Many at the club may not like it, and it doesn’t really reflect too well on boss Frankie McAvoy, but it’s rare you hear such brutal honesty.
Barkhuizen knows this isn’t good enough, just like the rest of us. He’s actually come out and said it, rather than the usual cliches of just looking to the next game or working harder.
Now though, it’s all about a response.
We can’t be sat here in another month, two months having the same conversation.
A meeting against an impressive Coventry City side isn’t ideal. Then it’s away to Blackpool, a game North End and McAvoy simply cannot afford to lose.
You really have to question how Preston have been at least a league above Blackpool for six years yet look set to head into Saturday’s game at Bloomfield Road as underdogs.
Make no mistake about it, if Preston lose to the Tangerines, there will be a backlash from fans.
This winless run is worrying enough, but after failing to turn up for a big occasion on Saturday, it cannot happen again.
If Blackpool pull off the win next weekend, you can expect McAvoy – no matter what you may think of him – to come under more pressure than ever before.
This is a pivotal week for Preston and the North End boss. Barkhuizen has opened it up with real honesty, but there must be action to go with those words.