Left Back In The Changing Rooms
Phil Brown now faces his toughest test yet after the inevitable relgation of last season he ahs still failed to rectify Preston's defensive deficiencies.
After Saturday's lifeless performance Iain Hume made a surprise return to the starting line up with Proctor pushed out to the right and Mayor supporting from the left in a 4-3-3 system. Steven Smith replaced Parry whilst Gray came in for Mcglaughlin.
To say the defending was shambolic would be an understatement. Smith looked slow and dilatory but a question has to be asked why he started a game when he has not played for so many months. All four goals came from the right hand side of the pitch and with a 4-3-3 formation Smith had no protection.
United had pace with on loan winger Phillips and this proved Preston's undoing. He glided past Smith and beat Turner who made a weak effort to save early on. The tone was then set for the rest of the game.
Preston looked capable going forward an were denied a clear penalty when Carlisle was hauled down in the box. Moments later an inswinging free kick was head by Carlisle over the keeper onto the bar and over the line although Hume also got a late touch.
The visitors were then allowed time and space again as Phillips ghosted past the invisible Smith to fire home his second of the night. It was almost like playing without a left back.
The formation was then switched at half time to 4-4-2 with Daley playing on the wing, Mayor on the other with Proctor and Hume up front.
Daley should start on Saturday as he is a much needed spark and his mazy run allowed a left wing cross to find the feet of Hume who converted on his return.
You would have thought Preston would have at least tried to remain tight and push forward ont he break with Daley and Hume. There was no such look and Preston again fell on their own sword.
Preston old boy Lee Williamson came on for the final twenty minutes. He managed to score a brace. Both were from...you guessed it... the right hand side. I think Smith was still playing at this point, needless to say Williamson managed to bypass the left back on both occassions shooting past Turner who possibly could have done better with the third.
Brown now faces a tought test away to Huddersfield and an inevitable fourth defeat in a row. He has always singled out the need to be tough and win 1-0 as clearly Preston ahve the attacking talent to power through this league.
It is now Brown's defence - he knew in May he had to assemble a new back four with Jones, St Ledger and Cort all leaving. He has chosen a lack of pace in Carlisle and Maclean but clearly has no faith whatsoever in any of the full backs at his disposal.
A short fix might be to get Devine playing alongside Carlisle as the pairing worked well at the start of Preston's seven game winning streak and actually looked like keeping clean sheets with Maclean pushed out to the right. I can only hope the defence is sorted sooner rather than later.
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