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Preston North End: Cup run alive and play-off assault

Posted on - 18th September, 2011 - 7:26am | Author - | Posted in - Opinion, Preston North End

The Preston North End weekly roundup is a new feature here at Blog Preston, in association with The Town End. Each and every week, we’ll bring you all the latest news and gossip from Deepdale, not to mention links to match reports, video highlights and more, all in one place. Aside from a season ticket, it’s the best way to keep up to scratch with all the goings on at North End. With that said, here’s the weekly roundup for the week ending Sunday, 18th September.

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It’s been a terrific week for North End fans as the Lilywhites won two games away from home, against tough opposition and in convincing fashion. There’s a certain air of optimism looming over Deepdale at the moment, and it’s something we’ve not felt for far too long. Our strikers can’t stop scoring, our youth team players look hungrier than ever, our fringe players are still capable of putting in a shift or two, and our substitute keeper even managed to keep a clean sheet on his debut. What’s more, we’ve won six on the bounce and with players like Ian Ashbee and Keammar Daley returning from injury or nearing match fitness, it feels like the best is still to come.

After the win at Brentford, North End occupy a play-off place with two games in hand, and with a PNE Day fixture coming up against Tranmere Rovers at Deepdale next Saturday, it really does feel like a great time to be a North End fan. Towards the end of last season, matchday felt like more of a chore than it did a treat, but Phil Brown’s managed to turn the place around, and everyone – from the coaching staff, to the players, to the fans – is buzzing.

 

North End went into the week with a decent run of form – 4 wins in 4 – and were looking to extend it, but with two away clashes against league leaders Charlton Athletic in the Carling Cup and fellow promotion hopefuls Brentford in League One, it looked no easy task.

Tuesday, 13th September
Charlton Athletic 0 – 2 Preston North End
The Valley

Full Match Report | Highlights

First up was a trip to The Valley on Tuesday evening for a 2nd round Carling Cup tie against Charlton Athletic. With both teams desperate for league success, the starting lineups were almost unrecognisable. Phil Brown made eight changes to the team that beat Yeovil Town the previous weekend – Paul Parry, Paul Coutts and Clarke Carlisle remained – while Chris Powell completely rewrote the script for his Charlton side, making a gutsy 11 changes. An almost identical Charlton outfit had managed to dispatch Championship side Reading just three weeks earlier, but they caused no such problems for an impressive North End side who cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory.

Goals in either half from the somewhat overlooked Darel Russell and the hugely impressive Danny Mayor were enough to see off the London club in a dominant display from the Lilywhites who looked controlled, confident and assertive throughout. Charlton never really troubled young goalkeeper Andreas Arestidou for the duration of his North End debut. Jason Euell did have the ball in the net in the final minutes, but he was adjudged to be offside. Minutes later and Athletic struck the woodwork, but the pressure was too little, too late as Preston saw out the match, booked a 3rd round tie against Southampton and earned themselves another clean sheet – their 4th of the season.

Saturday, 17th September
Brentford 1-3 Preston North End
Griffin Park

Full Match Report | Highlights (coming soon)

PNE returned to League action on Saturday with high spirits after comfortably beating the league leaders on their own turf in midweek. A tricky trip to Griffin Park was on the cards, where Phil Brown’s men would face League One high-flyers Brentford. North End were without first-choice keeper Iain Turner due to a broken toe, but Andreas Arestidou filled in admirably and staked a claim for some first-team action.

Neil Mellor grabbed two goals against Yeovil Town last week, and he managed to perform the same feat again at Brentford. He opened the scoring in the 10th minute, and put the game to bed in the 73rd with his 4th goal in two games. Iain Hume managed to get himself back on the scoresheet with an absolutely wondrous strike from 25 yards. North End move up to 6th with two games in hand on most of League One, and on recent form, that’s another six points.

PNE Day – help spread the word

With PNE Day fast approaching, the Club has teamed up with Preston Supporters Group in order to promote the event further. Pro-active fans can pop into Deepdale, grab a handful of posters and start slapping them around the City: bars, pubs, clubs, businesses – anywhere it’s permitted and legal to do so. If you can’t make it to Deepdale, the club has made the posters available to download from the Official website in sizes of up to A3.Read more about PNE Day.

Youngster breaks club record

Youth team hotshot Brandon Zibaka broke a club record when he came on as a 79th minute substitute against Charlton in midweek; at just 16 years of age, Brandon is the youngest player that Preston North End have ever fielded in a competitive, senior fixture. Congratulations, Brandon!

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That’s all for this week. Let us know what you think of the new roundup in the comments below and your views on North End’s season so far.

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