Preston take on Manchester City this evening, and it’s fair to say that Patrick Bauer will be absolutely key.
North End face a daunting task against the Premier League champions, so trying to keep their attackers quiet will be vital. Bauer has been a key signing since arriving from Charlton, and much will depend on how he and Ben Davies cope against elite opposition.
Bauer has received plenty of plaudits so far this season, especially after Saturday’s win at Birmingham City. Seani Maguire may have bagged the winner, but Bauer was key in the heart of defence.
Bauer racked up six aerials won and seven clearances, keeping Birmingham and Lukas Jutkiewicz at bay. It’s now two clean sheets in a row for North End, and Bauer has been the big difference in North End’s new-found defensive solidity.
He faces a whole new challenge tonight against the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, but he has received praise from boss Alex Neil.
Neil told iFollow that he had been telling Bauer and Davies to ‘not get bullied’, and jokes that he will try to upset Bauer more if he responds with performances like that.
Neil also hailed the partnership between the two centre backs, which will be tested to the maximum tonight.
“That’s pleasing because I’ve been hammering into the two of them all week ‘don’t get bullied, don’t let them win headers, be dominant’. Obviously the big fella has took that to heart, so yeah, I might try and upset him every midweek if that’s how he’s going to perform.”
“He was good. He’s dominant, he’s strong, he wants to go and compete, and I think him and Ben have struck a really good balance, and Ben complements him really well in terms of what his strengths are,” he added.