After such a great start, it’s all going a bit wrong for Preston now.
Since the international break in November, North End have played four and lost four. They’ve conceded eight goals, and scored none. They’ve dropped from second in the table to seventh, and now sit 12 points off the top two.
It was always going to be hard to sustain an automatic promotion push, but a run like this wasn’t expected. Of course, as is often the case with Preston, injuries have hit hard.
Alex Neil has been forced to use a threadbare squad lately, and that has contributed to these poor results, but there is a huge problem emerging at the top end of the pitch; where injuries haven’t hit quite as hard.
Yes, playmakers Daniel Johnson and Paul Gallagher have been missed, but no goals in four games is such a downturn in form. North End were the Championship’s top scorers before the international break, but now haven’t found the net since Gallagher’s 50th minute penalty a month ago.
Now, midfielder Ben Pearson has admitted that it’s a real problem for Preston, which was again highlighted against QPR – but Pearson wasn’t all that impressed by QPR either.
Pearson suggested to the Preston official website that they weren’t anything special, and North End will hope that the likes of Seani Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen can get their form back soon to help win these tight matches against the likes of QPR.
“I think it’s a problem at the minute not scoring goals, but to be honest I don’t think they played well in particular, I don’t think they were anything special,” said Pearson, before blaming himself for the first goal. “I think that the first goal’s partly my fault, I think I’ve got to track the runner better, and also we were wide open at the same time so it’s never good to get off to a start like that. The penalty is a sucker punch and it’s hard work when you go 2-0 down with probably 15 minutes to go,” he added.