Preston North End looked much more like the Lilywhites of old in midweek, as they sailed into the next round of the EFL Cup after beating Morecambe 4-2 at the Mazuma Stadium.
PNE have endured a shaky start to their season so far, as they find themselves floating ominously near the relegation places. They picked up a win against Peterborough last weekend to seal their first win of the new campaign but there is still some unrest amongst a number of supporters at the club.
On Tuesday night though, all of that was forgotten for 90 minutes, as the side flourished and plundered four goals against League One Morecambe.
Here then, we take a look at one winner and one loser following North End’s cup victory.
Winner: Emil Riis
It has to be Riis after the superb 90 minutes of action that he had.
The 23-year-old has looked sharp since his switch to the Lilywhites and many of the club’s fans have been impressed with his pace and ability on the ball. The only issue remained his lack of goals – he managed just three of them in 39 games during the last campaign.
However, this year he has already bettered that total and bagged another two on Tuesday night.
He scored two very different types of goal during the game, one of them a well-executed and cool finish following a run-in behind and the other a scrappy goal that he didn’t give up on, showing how he is able to produce the goods in a variety of different ways. They were two ‘proper’ striker’s finishes – showing that Dane can be the well-rounded forward that his club need.
Riis certainly showed boss Frankie McAvoy that he can’t be ignored – he’s started just two of PNE’s league games so far – and deserves the chance to be a regular starter in the side. He’s now made his case to be the number one striker at the club and with performances like that, leaving him on the bench can no longer be justified.
Loser: Ched Evans
It’s hard to select a loser from the team that played, considering the way in which they sealed the victory against Morecambe. Therefore, the loser is another forward who didn’t feature in Ched Evans.
Like his team in the league so far, he has struggled to produce the same standard of football that he did last season. Upon his move to Deepdale, it looked like he could be the leader of the line for his new side, as he bagged on a regular basis and toiled away in every game in which he played.
He certainly looked the most threatening of the forwards at the club but since the beginning of the new campaign, he has been unable to produce anything similar to the showings he previously has in Lilywhite colours.
With Riis, Scott Sinclair and even Sean Maguire all performing to a higher standard than him this season – and with the Dane producing on a much more regular basis – the 32-year-old could find himself dropping down the pecking order at Preston.
That could mean a lot more time spent on the bench if Riis continues to fire on all cylinders – a situation he would have no doubt liked to have avoided after his time at Fleetwood.