Preston’s unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday afternoon, losing 1-0 at Reading.
North End smashed Barnsley 5-1 before the international break, but returning from those breaks has been an issue under Alex Neil. It was two wins in nine post-international break games under Neil before heading to Berkshire, and now it’s two from 10.
Preston were disappointing at the Madejski Stadium, but still looked to be claiming a point until late heartbreak. Jordan Obita’s long-range shot was parried by Declan Rudd, and Matt Miazga’s rebound found its way in.
After eight games without defeat, suffering a late loss is a huge blow. Preston slip to sixth in the table, but are still just two points off second place.
There’s at least a chance for Neil’s side to hit back quickly, with Leeds United visiting Deepdale on Tuesday night. Unsurprisingly, Paul Gallagher is already looking towards that game.
Gallagher started at Reading on Saturday, but was hooked after 58 minutes for Alan Browne. The Scot maybe wasn’t at his best, and Neil has now saved his legs with two big games ahead.
It’s Leeds on Tuesday then Blackburn Rovers next weekend, and Gallagher has admitted he’s looking to bounce back immediately against Leeds, suggesting that can be no excuses for such a poor performance at Reading.
Gallagher did though offer his congratulations to Preston’s Scott Fitzgerald, as the North End-mad boxer beat Ted Cheeseman in Newcastle last night to win the British super-welterweight title.