Preston North End stuttered to their fifth Championship draw in a row following a 1-1 result against Stoke City at Deepdale last night.
The Lilywhites are unbeaten in the league since losing their first three matches of the season against Hull City, Reading and Huddersfield but they’re struggling to find the winning formula as of late.
Ben Whiteman’s goal cancelled out Nick Powell’s early opener but the hosts were never really on top in the encounter, with the Potters very unlucky to not head back down the M6 with all three points.
Let’s look at THREE things we learnt about North End last night as they notched another point towards their league tally for the season.
They still lack a real cutting edge
North End have been pretty entertaining in the Carabao Cup, scoring 11 times in three matches against lower league opposition but there’s an obvious struggle to put teams away in the league.
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They’re creating more chances under Frankie McAvoy’s management than they were under Alex Neil last season and for the most part the football is more entertaining, but chances aren’t being put away.
In the last five league matches there’s been just four goals with two of those games being 0-0’s, so McAvoy clearly has a solid defence to work with.
But despite a plethora of attacking options at his disposal, the goals just aren’t flowing – they had just two shots on target last night and that tally needs to be increased if they’re going to rack up more wins.
Daniel Iversen is one of the Championship’s best goalkeepers
When regular first-choice stopper Declan Rudd went down with a knee injury last season, the move was made to bring in Leicester City’s Daniel Iversen for the rest of the season and he continued North End’s fine record of loan goalkeepers with some sensational performances.
The likes of Jordan Pickford and Sam Johnstone have pulled on the PNE shirt as loanees and despite fans not being allowed inside Deepdale last season, they hailed the Dane from afar as he won North End a lot of points with his performances.
Iversen has returned this season to battle with Rudd for the starting jersey and he’s taken it with both hands and last night was perhaps his best performance since the campaign began.
He made a fantastic one-handed stop to deny Nick Powell from close range in the first half and similarly after half-time he denied Josh Tymon who had the goal at his mercy and he was perhaps the sole reason North End left Deepdale with a point and not zero.
Changes need to be made for QPR clash
McAvoy couldn’t go a sixth league match in a row naming the same starting 11 due to Andrew Hughes suffering a toe injury, meaning Greg Cunningham replaced him in the back-line.
Aside from that though it was the same team despite calls for a few changes to be made to freshen the line-up up.
Those changes didn’t come though but after five draws in a row, surely the trip to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday will see some freshening up with the likes of Ali McCann coming in for his first league start and perhaps a change at the top end of the pitch.