Roper Reports will endeavour to make sense of the recent happenings at North End and offer general comment on the world of Football.
During the season there'll be a new report each week. You can navigate the season's articles by using the 'Older' and 'Newer' buttons or by using the drop-down menu.
Six of the best
Thursday 23rd October 2014
Six points out of six this week for North End and six wins out of six make excellent reading for all at Deepdale as North End hit a rich vein of form. A very feisty affair last Saturday saw North End eventually take the points from a Port Vale side that seemed more intent on trying to get Joe Garner sent off than trying to beat the rest of their opponents on the pitch. Garner, once again, had the last laugh as the Valiants finished the game with only ten men and ended up quite convincingly beaten on the day. That victory was followed on Tuesday night by a well-constructed single goal victory at Gillingham courtesy of a Paul Huntington header on the hour mark. I thought we played some excellent football on the night and although not everything we tried on the night came off we looked a side heading very much in the right direction and promotion campaigns are littered with hard fought 1-0 wins away from home.
The next seven days sees a Saturday / Tuesday week once again with a home derby on Saturday against Fleetwood and another long journey on Tuesday evening to play Leyton Orient down in East London. The Fleetwood game, I'm sure will be a pulsating local derby with the return of a Preston legend in the shape of Graham Alexander. I'm sure the man who gave us fantastic service in a total of ten seasons will get a tumultuous reception by the North End faithful as he brings his Cod Army for their first ever league game at Deepdale. The faithful hit the road on Tuesday for a trip to Brisbane road in a game that doesn't look quite as tough on paper as it did a few months ago. Clearly we are not going to win every game this season but in my opinion the games against Fleetwood at home and Orient away offer the boys two more excellent chances to add to the points total which currently stands at better than two points a game. After the Fleetwood game North End will have played eight at home and five away but this balance will be address within ten days with away games at Orient, Rochdale and Swindon. I personally do not think it is a particularly bad thing having these away games as we certainly played with a freedom on Tuesday evening that we often don't see when playing at home.
Finally this week we had the tragic news of the death of local girl Melissa Smith who, very sadly, collapsed and died on the football field when playing for Cadley FC Girls last Sunday morning. I didn't know Melanie or her family personally but 15 years old is beyond being tragic for this young person to lose her life doing what she loved. Melissa's family have connections with both Preston North End and Fleetwood Town so I am sure there will be a mark of respect shown during the game at Deepdale on Saturday. We all have our rivals in the game but the football family always comes together at times like this and so it's a very opportune moment to show our respects to this young girl and to show her family that the football family is right there to support them. God bless Melissa – may you rest in peace and score many goals on God's Green Acre.