Preston North End finally got their season up and running with a comfortable 4-1 win over Huddersfield Town in the Carabao Cup.
Last season’s beaten play-off finalist Huddersfield had no answer for a rampant first half performance from The Lilywhites.
Ryan Lowe made six changes from the 0-0 draw with Hull City at the weekend, and the win will certainly give him a few big decisions to ponder ahead of the next league match against Luton Town on Saturday.
Alvaro Fernandez shows he must be in the starting XI
The young Manchester United loanee had already had a couple of impressive cameo appearances from the bench, but on Tuesday he was handed his first start for the club.
The Spaniard is keen to get forward as much as possible and is very direct with his running. He cuts inside and likes to head for the box, and rarely turns and plays the ball backwards. The boy is clearly talented and looks to be one of most creative players already.
Fernandez assisted both of Ali McCann’s goals, which were almost carbon copies of each other – running down to the byline before cutting it back for the midfielder.
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The problem for Ryan Lowe now is if it is possible to get Fernandez and Robbie Brady in the same team.
McCann warrants a start but who makes way?
Ali McCann has found himself very unlucky in his first year at the club. He’s in a very competitive position, but since Lowe’s arrival, it is clear he sees Ben Whiteman, Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson as the midfield three.
McCann has generally only got in the side if there has been an injury or suspension. Or in other cases he has been shoehorned into a wing-back role, something Browne and DJ have been asked to do as well. McCann is probably the closest thing we have to a Ben Pearson type player now.
Whilst Pearson impressed on his Premier League debut on Saturday, McCann showed that he also has goals in his locker. Late runs into the box allowed him to net two goals, and is he currently the top scorer this season! It will be interesting to see how Lowe can get him in the team, because a spot on the bench again would be very harsh.
Parrott off the mark!
It was only a matter of time after coming close in his first two games. We didn’t want it to drag on too long, and become a case like Lukas Nmecha’s.
With the German it was clear he was a great footballer, but the wait for his first goal held him back a bit.
Parrott now has his first for the club after applying the finish to a rebound from Ryan Ledson’s effort.
It will be a huge relief to the Tottenham Hotspur striker and hopefully he can go on a bit of a scoring run now, because aside from Emil Riis, the striker department is looking devoid of goals.
Two professional debuts
Ryan Lowe had spoken ahead of the game saying that with nine substitutions being named in this competition he saw it fit to name some younger players on the bench.
Dana Amaral, Mikey O’Neill, Lewis Leigh and Jacob Slater were all named in the squad of 19 and the latter two were brought on to make their professional debuts. Leigh a centre midfielder impressed during the 2021 pre-season and was handed a squad number, but didn’t make a breakthrough with a couple of injuries holding him back in the end.
Jacob Slater is only 17 and has shone in a left-wing back role for the youth teams which could be very useful for the formation we play. Mikey O’Neill is now a regular in the first team squad and he also came on against Huddersfield on Tuesday.
It’s good to see Lowe is happy to give these players a chance in the right circumstances. It’s always great as a fan to see young players come up from the academy and give some of the first team squad some needed competition.