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.
Friday 13th April 2012
Four games to go and North End are almost there after an Easter than yielded just two points but edged us seven clear of the drop.
A decent performance at home against MK Dons saw us snatch a share or the spoils in the ninetieth minute on the day we celebrated Sir Tom's ninetieth birthday – sometimes you just cannot write the scrip of what football will deliver. It was quite fitting that Bailey Wright scored the equaliser after the young Australian put in a Man of the Match performance at centre back.
Easter Monday saw us travel to Broadhall Way and our first ever visit to Stevenage. A poor game in my opinion but North End finished very strongly following the introduction of Hume and Procter after seventy minutes. I thought Humey had scored the winner when he slotted home with five minutes to go but we lost concentration in the third minute of injury time and Roberts headed the home side level. It is a very quaint ground but I reflected back on the fact that just two years ago we were playing at Newcastle in front of 50,000 plus. Yes - that is just how far we have fallen in such a short space of time.
This week we entertain Huddersfield Town at Deepdale and another tough looking game on paper. However with the Terriers seemingly set in fourth position and with very little chance of making automatic promotion this may be a game where we can make ourselves safe with a win or at least a draw. Certainly the effort and commitment is there but confidence is very low in the team at the moment. If the crowd can stay with the lads during the tough periods of the game and if Oldham can do the honours at Wycombe then we could be mathematically safe by tea-time on Saturday. I feel that when the finishing line is passed then Westley will really begin to plan for next season with a vengeance and we may see some early leavers from Deepdale. If the rumour mill is to be believed then of the 34 players currently under contract, 10 contracts will expire and 11 will be given free transfers. This will leave just 13 plus the 10 Westley wants to sign to get a squad of 23 for next season's campaign. Whether or not it pans out like that remains to be seen but one thing is for sure and that is there will be major changes to the playing squad during the summer.