Contrasting Games As October Ends

October was a better month for Alex Neil. It was far from perfect but Preston went the entire month unbeaten which was almost unthinkable at the start of the month.

There are positives to take from October. Points were accrued meaning Preston no longer sit bottom of the league. They look competitive against teams who are unlikely to trouble the top six and they have found a way of picking up points on the road.

Nmecha is slowly fitting into his role as a lone striker. Robinson has continued his good form and Barkhuizen has once again found his scoring boots.

Talk of lack of investment att he top end of the pitch has disappeared and it seems that Preston have returned partially to the free flowing and scoring team of last season.

There are still a number of big question marks over the team which will determine whether Preston can remain clear of the bottom three at the end of the season.

Defensively Neil has yet to find his best back line whether that be five or four at the back. Fisher has lost form although at time has been isolated by a lack of cover in front.

The left back situation is not much better. Cunnginham has left a big hole to fill. Hughes has looked average and Earl has not recovered from a woeful showing at Leeds in the league.

The Brentford game epitomised Preston's season. They went three up before half an hour. A stunning goal brought the visitors back into the game before Preston added a fourth.

There was late drama and nerves as Preston conceded two easily preventable goals. North End held on for the win but it seems Preston have to score four goals to give themselves any chance of a victory.

Saturday had a slightly different feel. Barkhuizen got the opener before Rotherham capitalised on a defensive lapse. The visitors play opposite to Brentford and closed up. Preston found it hard to break down and had to settle for a draw.

In reality a point is not all bad. North End now have two away games against teams where they can pick up points if they tighten their defence. November will continue to pose problems but Preston must continue their steady progress to steer up the table into calmer waters.