Saturday wasn’t Preston’s finest afternoon, losing 3-1 at home to Cardiff City in a crucial game.
North End needed a win to re-tighten their grip on sixth place, but disappointed against the Bluebirds. After Daniel Johnson had cancelled out Joe Ralls’ opener, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Robert Glatzel sealed the win for Cardiff.
Preston’s playoff hopes are now in real danger of fading away, after spending much of the season in the top six. Falling away now would be hugely disappointing, but the warning signs have been there.
North End’s lack of cutting edge has been apparent for some time now. There’s a lack of creativity, and the early season clinical edge when chances were created has gone too.
Popular Twitter account Blades Analytic posted about Preston on Saturday, noting that there is a lot to like about Alex Neil’s North End side, but ultimately lack an ability to play a killer pass or delivery to carve out golden chances.
Intriguingly, Sheffield United’s Mark Duffy then quote tweeted that with the eyes emoji, which is usually a hint about something happening – and this tweet left some to think that maybe Duffy is coming to Preston this summer to try and solve those issues.
— Mark Duffy (@markduffy7) June 27, 2020
It’s hard to take that tweet any other way; Blades Analytic even joked back suggesting that he will take a 10% cut of any move. Maybe Duffy just thinks that he can solve those issues, but his tweet has set tongues wagging.
Duffy, 34, is a favourite at Bramall Lane. He hit 15 goals in 121 games for the Blades, playing a key role in their rise from League One to the Premier League. This season, he has spent time out on loan at Stoke City and ADO Den Haag.
His contract ends this summer, with Sheffield United letting him go. He can play out wide or as a number 10, and would at least provide Preston some experience and know-how in the Championship.
Duffy is though approaching 35. Is that really what North End need right now? How much does Duffy have left in the tank? Having seen David Nugent struggle this season, adding another player towards the end of his career would be odd.
There may be nothing in this, but it’s certainly a story and a name to keep an eye on.