Roper Reports will endeavour to make sense of the recent happenings at North End and offer general comment on the world of Football.
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League joy, but Cup woe
Thursday 28th August 2014
A week of mixed fortune for North End with a home win in the league but an exit from the Capital One on Tuesday evening. In some respects the two games could not have been more contrasting with a win via a poor performance in the League and a defeat with a decent performance in the Cup. Last Saturday we were average at best in beating Oldham 1-0 at Deepdale. Having scored early on through Jack King we then seemed to engage the reverse gear until late in the game when substitutions did at least change things slightly for the better. The main issue with the display was the fact that the floating fans that we are trying to attract will not be tempted to come back to Deepdale to watch any more of what they saw on Saturday. Conversely, on Tuesday evening at Middlesbrough, we put in a very decent performance with a much changed side but it still wasn't enough to beat a Boro side that had just too much class for us on the evening. After going one down to a well-executed, but hotly disputed, free kick we managed to get back in the game via a Jordan Hugill header against the team he supported as a kid. Within a few minutes, though, we had conceded an unfortunate own goal through Tom Clarke and when Tomlin was allowed to run through unchallenged to make it three the game was over and the travelling 389 were left to wonder what might have been.
This week, once again, sees a Saturday - Tuesday Programme with a home double header featuring Sheffield United and Shrewsbury. Saturday sees the visit of the Blades to Deepdale in the first big game of the season between two of the fancied sides in League One. United have won two and lost two of their opening four games but had a great win on penalties against West Ham on Tuesday evening in the Capital One Cup. A win would be a great boost to North End exceeding the two points a game average and also dealing our promotion rivals a blow. On Tuesday evening we welcome cup giant killers Shrewsbury Town to Deepdale in the first round of the Paint pot Cup. The Shrews have already seen off Blackpool and Premiership Leicester City in the Capital One cup so will no doubt come to Deepdale in good heart. I would expect Simon Grayson to make numerous changes from the Saturday team and no doubt Stucky will make his seasonal debut between the sticks. The Johnstones Paint Trophy is a much maligned competition but any tournament that has a Wembley showpiece final attached to it must be worth a go even if it is with a squad side as opposed to the perceived first eleven.
Finally, this week, the transfer deadline day draws near and I see no further major signings on the horizon for North End. No doubt there will be one or two new faces coming in to Deepdale but I think they will either be free agents or via the loan market which opens, I think, on Monday September 8th.