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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Thursday 10th April 2014
A bit of a shock to everyone at Deepdale when the boys in blue came calling and took six of the team in to help them with their investigations - apparently regarding spot-fixing allegations. We are limited to what we can say in print with regard to these allegations but what we can say is that the manager has spoken to all the players and having heard what they had to say he has backed them 100%. I'm sure this will be of great comfort to the players involved and I have to say that the three who played at Bristol on Saturday in no way looked like they were playing under a cloud. The problem the club has is that when you throw mud it can easily stick so I'm sure North End will be very careful with the communications coming out of Deepdale understanding the sensitivities of a case like this. Many theories – mostly conspiracy – are being put forward but it would be wrong to speculate at this juncture and we will just have to await the outcome of any further enquiries.
On the field it was draw number 16 for North End at Ashton Gate on Saturday in a game with plenty of effort but that the neutral could well have observed as being low key. I actually thought that when we took the lead we would go on and win the game but a bit of poor defending saw us lose the ball and Elliott equalised via a deflection for the Robins. A great turnout of 755 made the trip to the West Country but for two of the fans on the away end the journey had been slightly longer. Conor Adam and his lovely lady Silvia had travelled all the way from Bergamo in Italy to Bristol via plane and enjoyed a three day stay flying home on Tuesday. It was a pleasure to meet them both safe in the knowledge that a little part of South West Italy will always be Preston.
We move on to this week's game, and a local derby, well at least for the opposition, against Carlisle at Deepdale. It should be a decent crowd but I don't think the visitors will bring anything like the 5,000 they brought last time up. Early indications are that less than 1,500 are likely to make the trip down the M6 for what a vital game this is given the circumstances, particularly for the visitors. North End, on the other hand, are probably playing to finish third or fourth given that Brentford are now 11 points clear and barring one of those football miracles, unlikely to be caught by ourselves. Nevertheless, we still need the points for that all important second leg to be hopefully staged at Deepdale.