By Ellie Hamilton, Shoot’s Preston blogger
The manager of the month curse has struck Preston North End hard as they have suffered three defeats since the award came Simon Grayson’s way last Friday.
North End’s performances in the first halves of both games have cost them three points and a place in the Johnston’s Paint Trophy in the past few days.
Peterborough United took advantage of two goalkeeping mistakes as North End were beaten for the first time in the league this season, although they were unlucky not to come back with Bailey Wright and Joe Garner hitting the woodwork, while Tom Clarke had a header cleared off of the line.
Oldham Athletic shocked Deepdale with a 2-0 win on Tuesday night, sending the Lilywhites crashing out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy within the opening 10 minutes. Simon Grayson made nine changes from the starting XI who started in the defeat at London Road, with the only two survivors being Scott Laird and Paul Huntington.
The defeats come somewhat as a surprise given PNE’s early season form, but there is a lot for Preston to take from the two matches, especially defensive lessons, with goalkeeping errors and slack defending oddly being the downfall.
One player who will be out to prove his credentials will be Declan Rudd after his uncharacteristic errors cost Grayson’s men at London Road and another player who has become a pivotal part of the set-up at Deepdale is Scott Laird, whose performances throughout September certainly helped Grayson claim his manager of the month award.
Laird has come out and had his say about PNE losing their unbeaten record at the start of the season and hopes the defeats will prevent the squad allowing complacency to creep in as they look to continue with a promotion push.
North End were hopeful of getting back to winning ways on Saturday as they took on the struggling Crewe Alexandra, whose run in the JPT also came to an end on Tuesday night as they suffered a 4-0 battering at the hands of Fleetwood Town.
Crewe had failed to win in their last seven league games, with their only win of the season being a 2-1 win against struggling Tranmere back in August, but they ran out 2-0 winners to carry on the curse of Grayson’s award.