End of seasson game at Bournemouth, lost 1-0. Big changes in the squad are promised for next year. It will need it as their final position is a reasonable reflection of their quality.
Perhaps the manager can be fairly pleased his former club made it into the play-offs, although on goal difference and 7 points behind the team above them.
Next season will see Portsmouth and Coventry in Division 1, both clubs with high expectations. With Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday promoted it leaves Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Notts County as the remaining clubs with high expectations and 2 of those are in the play-offs. That isn't to say the rest of the division aren't as good, it's whether you'd regard them as a club with the facilities to do better. Clubs like MK Dons have the backing and are a newish name who could be a force of the future.
A nice surprise is Fleetwood being promoted League 2, well done.
Six points from a relegation place, but 6 points from the last 6 games should see them safe. Seems all there is to do is hope they stay up. Probably a clear out of players as there are 30 and then hope Graham Westley can turn things round in the new season. An interesting report on the BBC sports blog, a summary seems to be that the squad isn't happy, it's too big, and there are questions about the managers style and how he likes to play. Click here to read it. Yet there are theories that say many changes of manager have little effect, at the end of the day the squad deliver the results. Getting the squad right is a major factor for the manager, how long does it take, where do you get the players from.
A win, a draw and a loss in February wasn't too bad. Play-offs looking remote, relegation zone looking closer.
Graham Westley appointed manager in mid-January taking over for the Leyton home match and losing 0-2. A draw away at Notts County and then a defeat to Yeovil. The results under Graham Alexander and Dave Unsworth were better but not enough to keep them on.
A pity that the games against Leyton and Yeovil were bedding in games for the new manager as they represented a period in the season when PNE were playing the bottom clubs.
So far Graham Westley has emphasised that the fitness of the players is only 75% of what he expects and a number of player changes have been made by transfer and loan. These include bringing in Proctor, Holroyd, McAllister, Marrow, Murphy, Robertson and Cummings. Moving out Turner, Tsoumouand Carlisle, with Bunn returning to Man City.
It's early days for the manager, there is little doubt that big change is needed. Let's hope that these changes are the right ones.
Phil Brown sacked in mid-December. David Unsworth and Graeme Alexander taking over until a full time appointment is made. Started well with a win at well placed MK Dons but then going back to business as usual. Conceding 3 to Carlisle at home. Also in the month being defeated on penalties at home to Chesterfield in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. The positive side is they're still in easy range of the play-offs.
A couple of loan signings; Jake Jervis from Birmingham, a forward following the prolonged absence of Neil Mellor. Also Harry Bun from Manchester City, another teenager.
Wednesday 4th January is said to be the announcement of new manager day. Speculation around Billy Davies, although it would seem a good thing, his ambition usually seems bigger than Preston have ever displayed. Whether one of the two temporary managers could be appointed is another question, they are popular, but neither have great experience and the defence has let in a lot of late. Odds on Sky on 2nd Jan are Billy Davies 11/10, Jim Magilton 7/4, Gary Flitcroft 7/4. DU is 5/1 and GA 6/1. These names aren't listed elsewhere although Billy Davies is 4th favourite in the Leeds list.
Two months of poor results but still only 5 points from the play-off positions. Conceded most goals at home in the division, and have home and away performance almost the same. Leaky defence, poor home performance. The top teams have lost none at home Preston have lost 4 and drawn 1.
In the Johnstone Paint Trophy North, keep a straight face, PNE were hoping to get to Wembley but lost on penalties to Chesterfield at Deepdale. Can't help getting a surge of anger thinking about it but it was only last night.
Peter Ridsdale has taken over as Chairman from Maurice Lindsay who is ill. Peter led Leeds to some glory but their finances collapsed and they went down 2 divisions. Then was at Barnsley and Cardiff both achieving some good results. Then at Plymouth and is moving to Preston because his family is in Lancashire. It's not clear what difference a chairman makes but during the time of Bryan Gray a great foundation was created, although David Moyes was here as well. Selecting managers, having contacts, making good business decisions. With an owner with an eye for business it might work out. At the Grand National Trevor Hemmings didn't come over in his brief time on TV as the hands off background person he appears as in the press.
It's all black and white, winning run then losing run. A losing streak in October sends PNE down to 11th place. The defence letting in 15 goals and never less than 3 in the last 4 games.
That goalie Turner broke his foot, then his toe doesn't help and Mellor and Hume have been injured.
The team that lost last week to lowly Bournemouth was: Turner, Gray, Devine, Alexander, Cuotts, Barton, Mayor, Parry, Russell (Nicholson 65), Proctor, (Daley 66), Tsoumou. Subs: Arestidou, McLean, Ashbee, Nicholson, Daley.
A winning streak in September sends PNE up to 2nd place with a game in hand on the other teams. Mellor and Hume scoring 6 and 3 respectively in October.
In the Carling Cup PNE got a good away win at Charlton but lost away to Southampton who are currently top of the Championship.
In the Premier League, northwest clubs, Blackburn, Bolton and Wigan are having a bad time being the bottom 3. From short TV clips Wigan appear to have a team better than it's position, yet they only just escaped relegation last year.
After the bad start 3 wins on the run in August. Winning is what it's all about even though it doesn't seem from reports that the team is playing awesome soccer. Mellor is leading scrorer with 2 goals. Special mention to the goalie Turner for scoring direct from a drop kick against Notts. C. Over 10,000 at the last home game against Notts County is quite a decent gate. Team against Notts C. was;
PNE 2, Colchester United 4. Not a good start. Letting 4 goals in at home doesn't bode well although as 2 of the players were signed this week they don't know each other very well. Scoring 2 goals isn't a bad start. 4 bookings is poor as well.
Opening game team was: Turner, McClean, Carlisle, Morgan, Parry, Alexander, Nicholson, Coutts, Hume, Proctor, Mellor. Subs: Arestidou, Devine, Barton, Mayor, Clucas
First game against Colchester United at Deepdale on 6th August. PNE re-signed Graham Alexander the popular veteran half back from Burnley, defender Brian McLean from Falkirk, centre half Clark Carlisle from Burnley and goalie Iain Turner from Everton. Neil Mellor is back from a loan spell. Favourites gone include: Andy Lonergan the goalie has gone to Leeds. Sean St Ledger has gone to Leicester, Billy Jones to West Brom, Winger Keith Treacy to Burnley.
Preston have sold over 7,000 season tickets, a good performance.
Mixed bunch of results in pre-season friendlies. PNE 1 Wigan 3, Kilmarnock 1 PNE 1, Falkirk 2 PNE 2.
Betting odds for end of season top positions are around:
Huddersfield 5/4, Sheffield Wed 7/4, PNE 2/1, Sheff Utd 5/2, Charlton 5/2, Brentford 4/1, MK Dons 5/1.
Tranmere, Walsall, Yeovil for relegation.