Preston slumped to defeat again on Saturday afternoon, losing 2-1 at home to Rotherham United in a dismal afternoon.

North End fell behind inside 20 seconds as Joe Rafferty headed into his own net, before Ben Wiles added a second after the break.

Ched Evans did score to bring Preston back into the game, but there was no equaliser as North End’s tricky start to 2021 continued.

That’s now four league defeats in six games to start the year, and Neil finds himself under pressure from sections of the fanbase.


Preston North End v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship
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There weren’t all that many positives to take from the day, but winger Anthony Gordon did show some promise on his debut having joined on loan from Everton.

The 19-year-old started on the left flank before being substituted in the second half, showing direct dribbling ability and a spark of flair in the final third.

Having not played 90 minutes of senior football since September, it’s not a huge shock that he was taken off – even if fans were unhappy.

Boss Neil has now told Lancs Live that he thought Gordon was ‘threatening’ on Saturday, and showed the kind of talent he already has at such a young age.

Sheffield Wednesday v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Neil does though feel that Gordon needs to work on decision making and his end product going forward, believing there is plenty of room for the wide man to develop and improve during his time at Deepdale.

“I thought Anthony looked threatening. I think you can see from him how much talent he potentially does have,” said Neil. “I think what he needs to recognise is when to dribble and when to pass, because on occasions they sent a second defender over to double up on him. That’s when he needs to get his head up and find the spare player.”

“I didn’t think he got that balance right in the first half. They started breaking us up and at this level you can’t make those bad decisions too often. He had a good chance when he cut inside and opened the ball up for himself, we’ve seen him do that in training and he’s really good at it. There was another one where he made good contact and the lad blocked it, and he probably needed to get it out of his feet a bit quicker to get the next shot away,” he added.

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