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After a long hiatus Mark is back with a new story. Where will it take him?



We played our first of two friendlies before the European Championship Finals and predictably strolled to victory against our lesser ranked hosts. Russell Burton continued his hot streak of form in front of goal with a 13 minute first half hat-trick by the 23rd minute. The young Cardiff City striker just seems to have a habit of finding the net and could be a goalscoring legend if he progresses as well as he has done so far in his fledging career especially at international level. He's yet to make a league appearance for the Bluebirds, do they not want to unleash his potential? We scored a fourth in the 26th minute thanks to winger Anthony Stevenson and that was that. No further goals followed but it was a good workout for the team as I made use of the full squad I had at my disposal.


Our second warm up was ironically in Switzerland as we looked to help the lads adjust to playing at altitude which they would experience in the tournament. Whilst we matched the home nation in terms of chances created, it was their possession football and ruthlessness in front of goal that proved to be major difference on the day. 17 year old Felix Varlet of FC Basel gave us the old boom boom treatment with a second half treble, two of them from dubious penalties awarded by the Slovakian referee. We did ensure that the game did finish respectable thanks to goals from full back Lloyd Bellamy and midfielder Paul Clarke but they were just consolations if that. We will have to improve noticeably in the finals themselves if we are to make the final four.



Well after just one game in the group stages, those hopes of making the semi-finals are all but gone. Inspired by winger Charlie Strannegård, the Swedes roared into a 5-0 lead by the 47th minute leaving my team absolutely shell shocked to say the least. That said, no keeper on earth would have saved their second goal which was a stupendous free-kick from left-back Staffan Hultin. We scored twice in four minutes after that fifth Swedish goal thanks to an effort from that man Burton which the keeper really should have done better with at his near post; and then Cory Bond touched home from almost on the line after Bellamy had headed goalwards. Bond was actually our best player on the pitch by a proverbial country mile but we need to win the next two for sure now.


Our hopes are faint after a disappointing draw against Turkey in our second group encounter but it's our first ever point in the Final stages! We took the lead after 12 minutes when some great anticipation play from John Eaton saw him hook a deep Stevenson cross back into the danger area and the predatory Burton arrived unmarked to finish from six yards out. Alas we could not hold on as Tekin Aydin equalised with a header from a corner kick routine midway through that first half. Both nations pushed for a breakthrough in an end to end encounter but a pulsating game would see us shake hands on a 1-1 draw which helped neither of two. A convincing win against unbeaten Italy and Sweden failing to take the points against the Turks are our only chances of a semi-final berth now. It's not going to happen, is it?


Predictably enough we did lose against the Azzurini, I mean did anyone really think we would beat them? In what was really a dull as ditchwater game, the Italians had an astonishing 35 shots on our net but only one would beat Gareth Ryan. That came in the 28th minute when left back Giuseppe Magri netted with a deflected effort that wrongfooted Ryan. So another Finals comes to an end for us, but at least we didn't finish stone last this time out. That unfortunate honour goes to Turkey.

The final group table finished as such as:

Italy would go on and win the tournament, beating Portugal 3-1 in the Final.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...



Duell resigns from Wales role

Last Updated: 12/07/2025 12:00pm

Wales Under-21 manager Mark Duell has today resigned from his role with immediate effect.

The highly coveted manager has decided to concentrate on his club managerial position, and leaves the position after almost 5 years in the position. In that time, he has overseen the young Dragons make two successive European Under-21 Championship Finals, and whilst they haven't won any of them: the nation can be proud of what he has achieved.

Players that he has nurtured into full internationals include goalkeeper Jack Jackson, left back Cole DaSilva, midfielders Eifion Tipton and Anthony Hartigan as well as strikers Andrew Berry and Tyler Roberts. Duell has recently been appointed as the new manager at Championship side Preston North End and is hoping to build on his domestic success. He hasn't ruled out a return to the international fold though as he said in a statement from America where he is with his new club side

"Today I have tendered my resignation to the Welsh Football Association and Rob Page as Under-21 manager.

I've enjoyed almost 5 years in the role, combining that with my domestic duties, but I think the time has come to concentrate my efforts for now at club level. We have had some really good times with the Under-21 but there's always a time in every manager's career when he needs to make certain changes and today is one of those times.

I certainly won't rule out a return to international football at all. Maybe sometime in the future.

Whoever succeeds me, will be working with some of the best world talents around. Welsh football is in very good hands I'm sure."
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

Just to advise, more updates coming soon as we embark on season 8 and our first at Preston North End.
As much as I liked the result format last time, I'm freshening it up once more.

Comments on the story always appreciated.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


Current Managerial Career Snapshot

Domestic Managerial Jobs:
https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Edinburgh City: 8 July 2018 - 28 August 2020 (approached)
https://i.postimg.cc/C55yNXP3/Finland-Flag.png Ilves Tampere: 28 August 2020 - 1 December 2021 (resigned)
https://i.postimg.cc/GpWCtgjf/French-Flag.png Le Mans: 25 January 2022 - 24 May 2023 (resigned)
https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/England-Flag.png Tranmere Rovers: 24 May 2023 - 12 July 2025 (approached)
https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/England-Flag.png Preston North End: 12 July 2025 - present

International Managerial Jobs:
https://i.postimg.cc/NMgvy51f/welshflag.png Wales Under 21: 9 August 2020 - 12 July 2025 (resigned)

Awards Won:
2018-2020 (Edinburgh City): Manager of Month - 7, Trophies Lifted - 2, Manager of the Year - 0*
2020-2021 (Ilves): Manager of Month - 4, Trophies Lifted - 2, Manager of the Year - 1
2022-2023 (Le Mans): Manager of Month - 0**, Trophies Lifted - 1, Manager of the Year - 1
2023-2025 (Tranmere Rovers): Manager of Month - 4, Trophies Lifted - 2, Manager of the Year - 2
2025-date (Preston North End)

* - No Manager of the Year awards in the Scottish League One and Two
** - No Manager of the Month awards in Championnat National
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26 Squad Numbers

18. https://i.postimg.cc/NGbk4Pfx/IranFlag.png Alireza BEIRANVAND
30. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png James MONTGOMERY

2. https://i.postimg.cc/Px1b5nLc/welshflag.png Connor ROBERTS - Club Vice-Captain
3. https://i.postimg.cc/KcNh5FMs/Chile-Flag.png Cristian CUEVAS
4. https://i.postimg.cc/GpWCtgjf/FrenchFlag.png Jules KOUNDÉ - Club Captain
5. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Ezri KONSA
22. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Richard TIPPLE
36. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Stuart CARROLL (on loan to Southend United, season long)
37. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Ben GRANT
38. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Sean FITZGERALD
39. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Tahir CAIN
40. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Michael CROMPTON

6. https://i.postimg.cc/Bn8WsKwd/Montenegro-Flag.png Nikola VUKCEVIC
7. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Andrew FERGUSON
8. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Kasey PALMER
11. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Ollie WATKINS
12. https://i.postimg.cc/ZRSXrDKS/Belgium-Flag.png Charly MUSONDA
13. https://i.postimg.cc/d10F5gys/SwitzerlandFlag.png Remo FREULER
14. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Ronaldo VIEIRA
15. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Jack HARRISON
17. https://i.postimg.cc/TYpNWXqb/Colombia-Flag.png Mateus URIBE
19. https://i.postimg.cc/8CVZ3f8d/Italy-Flag.png Giulio MAGGIORE
33. https://i.postimg.cc/8CVZ3f8d/Italy-Flag.png Marco FOSSATI
34. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Harrison KIRBY
35. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Jonny HUNT

9. https://i.postimg.cc/KcKs125M/Albanian-Flag.png Brijan IBRAHIMI
10. https://i.postimg.cc/8CVZ3f8d/Italy-Flag.png Moise KEAN
16. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Reo GRIFFITHS
20. https://i.postimg.cc/kX6wgvqF/Norway-Flag.png Veton BERISHA
31. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Andy DERBYSHIRE
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26 Pre-Season (Part One)


We played five games in preparation for the new Championship season, my first at that level.

The first game was the sole game as part of the training camp held in the United States, against Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer League and an affiliate of MLS side DC United. Adopting the 4-1-2-2-1 variant of the 4-1-4-1 which has served me oh so well, I picked what I thought was the strongest side I have at my disposal but named a full bench of 12 substitutes in order to give the majority some game time. We opened the scoring in first half injury time, Swiss midfielder Remo Freuler.making no mistake from the spot after Moise Kean had been sent tumbling in the area. That lead was doubled 53 seconds after the restart, winger Jack Harrison with an unstoppable effort into the far corner from around the penalty spot. Striker Ed Allen pulled one back for Richmond in the 50th minute but we completed a very good workout with two more goals nine minutes apart. In the 65th minute, another winger in the shape of Andrew Ferguson headed in from a Harrison Kirby cross then Grady Diangana netted a superb solo goal when he cut inside his markers to strike home a superb effort. The only downside? Kasey Palmer pulling a back muscle in a tackle which would sideline him for a week and a half.

More on our transfer dealings in another post...

After arriving back from America, we decided to have what we call a bounce game behind closed doors against the Youth Team. It gave the first team more practice of working together and the youths an experience against the guys they ultimately want to possibly emulate if they are good enough. The first game came after just a couple of minutes, Ollie Watkins tapping from close range after Harrison had fashioned the opportunity. Goal number two came on the half hour, Watkins sending Harrison clear who scored at the second attempt and the third came five minutes later when Watkins was tripped in the area; Freuler again making no mistake from twelve yards. Another good workout, but thankfully no serious injuries picked up to players which will constitute my first team squad.

The third friendly would the first of two back to back friendlies against French sides. We hosted Stade De Reims, who played in the first ever European Cup Final way back in 1956 and compete in Ligue 1, and in a blistering first half display scored four times without conceding at the other end. Watkins continued where he had left off with our first goal in the eighth minute, a low drive across the keeper and into the far corner of the net. A second arrived on the half hour, Harrison with the flighted free-kick and although the keeper denied Watkins a second goal: he parried it straight out to captain Jules Koundé who made no mistake against his fellow countrymen. Four minutes later, Kean got his first of the afternoon when he latched onto a Watkins through ball to smash a low shot past the exposed keeper and then the Italian striker put us 4-0 ahead with a fine finish after pulling away from his markers following some great vision by Harrison. Reims scored twice in the last 15 minutes but we had changed our entire eleven and maybe that was to blame. But again I was more than satisfied with the overall outcome.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26 Pre-Season (Part Two)


The second part of the pre-season analysis.

I was less than happy after the second home friendly, as Nice dismantled us with absolute ease. Nice, you could say weren't at all, nice. Lone striker Frederick Obeng did the damage with the 18 year old striking a superb hat-trick which had me purring with delight. He's certainly going to be one to be watched for the future, I'll be keen to see how he does progress. We weren't taking the chances which were presented to us but did not suffer the ignominy of being blanked out at home as we scored a consolation with quarter of an hour to go. That came from the penalty spot after Briançon fouled Veton Berisha, Berisha picking himself up to slam the kick out of the keeper's reach and into the top corner. The team certainly got a taste of the hair dryer treatment at the end.

We would conclude our preparations with a trip to Bamber Bridge in our annual pre-season game at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium. The sell out crowd of 3000 would see me give plenty of opportunties to players that aren't first team regulars as I opted to leave a lot of the first team on the bench or rest them completely

The pundits expected a one sided game and a bit of a goal avalanche, well safe to say they weren't wrong on both counts as we had 37 shots on their net. It took just six minutes to open the scoring, and it was a Bamber Bridge player that scored it albeit in his own net. A corner came in from Montenegrin national captain Nikola Vukcevic looking for the head of Mateus Uribe but for full back Jeremiah Watson to intervene and head the ball past own keeper. Sheer embarrassment for the 17 year old. A minute later and we were two goals to the good, a left wing cross from back up left back Richard Tipple being nodded home at the far post by winger Andrew Ferguson. A third would come in the 22nd minute, and once more Tipple was involved. This time his cross was headed out but not convincingly clear by Watson and Swiss midfielder Remo Freuler lashed in the loose ball into the roof of the net via a post.

We continued to dominate and scored our fourth in the 26th minute, and another assist for Tipple who was certainly impressing me, His cross this time was powered into the net by a header from Albanian striker Brijan Ibrahimi. Ibrahimi had struggled in the previous friendlies so the goal must have definitely improved his confidence no end, and as any great striker would tell you: confidence is a major thing for them. Brig would pull one goal back two minutes after that strike, midfielder Ryan White capping a swift break with a low finish past back up keeper James Montgomery. It was one of only four shots they had all game. The joy the home fans experienced following that goal was quickly diluted on the half hour as we netted our fifth of the game thanks to an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area by Colombian Uribe which just literally fizzed by the keeper into the corner. There was still time for a sixth before the half time whistle was shrilled, and that came in the 44th minute. Another cross from the left by Tipple and a glancing header into the far corner by Ibrahimi, his second of the game.

We made four changes at half time but that did nothing to stop the flow of goals into the home net, in fact the seventh came just 20 seconds after the restart. Another Tipple cross, a weak defensive header and a precise finish from Ollie Watkins. Seven minutes we had an eighth, and yes Tipple was involved again. Another cross caused panic in the home defence, and 17 year old Andy Derbyshire had the simple task of tapping home the chance past the exposed keeper. Midway through this second half, it was 9-1. A fine cross from the right by young Tahir Cain, and a precise header from Moise Kean. We should have had number ten with 14 minutes left when Berisha was sent tumbling in the area by Mooney but the Norwegian smashed his spot kick against the crossbar with the keeper beaten. It did come though with five minutes to go, some good interplay ended with Kasey Palmer scoring with a composed finish as he continued his comeback after injury. The rout was completed in added on time, Italian Giulio Maggiore scoring from twelve yards after being left unmarked at a corner kick routine.

So that's pre-season done with, the real thing is around the corner.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26 Expectations


Just the three competitions to deal with this season, makes a change from four which I have had to contend with for the last couple of campaigns.

The big one is of course my maiden excursion in the Sky Bet Championship, or for you old timers out there: the former Second Division. Well the expectation is quite simple, they want promotion and an instant return back to the Premier League. To be honest, I'm not really surprised whatsoever. They've had a wee taste of the top flight and want to taste it further. I've got to deliver it, but they've not said if it has to be automatic promotion. Will they settle for a play-off win? I've never been a big fan of the drama these bring so I'll be targeting automatic which means finishing in the top two and looking at the squad: they have the quality and experience about them to make this happen.

Getting that promotion will realise one part of a dream, to manage in the Premier League. The next stop, would be to stay there.

In the Emirates FA Cup, they have indicated they want to reach the Fourth Round stage. Considering we enter at the round before, this is very much achievable. All it takes is for a decent draw to be given to us, but at that stage you could get anything and anywhere. We just need lady luck to be shining bright on our side. It also needs to be shining bright for the Carabao Cup too as they want to make the Third Round; again a stage after we enter said competition.

At least I don't have the headache that is the Checkatrade.

All in all, I think we can meet the targets set out...if not exceed them!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26 Transfer Activity (Window 1)


With eleven days to go before the window closes for the first time, I thought I would give an insight into our transfer dealings so far.

Just a couple of players in, and one of those is a familiar face to myself. The first newcomer is Montenegrin national team skipper Nikola Vukcevic who has joined us from Levante for an initial fee of £1.2 million, rising to £1.5 million after add-ons have been included. The 95 times capped internationalist should provide valuable experience in our midfield and is very technically one of the best players we have on our books. This deal was agreed before I took charge at Deepdale.

The second new face is Jake Collier, whom has been a bit of a hot prospect at Tranmere in the last two seasons. We had to fight off the attentions of Rangers to bring him to Deepdate. He has been signed for an initial fee of £600,000 which will raise to £900,000 again after add-ons. Collier has hit 44 goals in the last two campaigns for me, and I think he's capable of becoming better. He's only 20 years old and could be a real star in the making.

We released a number of players after relegation, including Kemar Roofe who has joined Swansea City in League One and Josh Harrop who has joined Championship rivals Nottingham Forest. Experienced Polish midfielder Lukasz Teodorczyk has also departed to go back to Eastern Europe and sign for Dukla Prague. Youngster Liam Robson has joined Northampton Town, recently relegated to League Two whilst Jordan Davis and Friday Taiwo have yet to find new employers.

Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has left Deepdale after relegation, after newly promoted Cardiff City agreed an initial fee of £2.5 million to take him to South Wales. This will net a further million after add-ons; and was a transfer that had gone through already before I took over. Youngsters Oliver Lee and Stuart Carroll have joined Gillingham and Southend United respectively on season long loans which should help with their developments. We also saw Grady Diangana depart too, again in a deal that was finalised before I took over. He's reunited with Martinez at the Bluebirds, they have paid an initial fee of £8 million for the attacking midfielder which will go to £10.25 million with sweeteners. Finally, as part of the deal that has brought Collier in, we have allowed him to return to Tranmere on a season long loan so he can continue to progress.

Ollie Watkins, Ronaldo Vieira and Moise Kean all want to leave after relegation but there have been no suitors to meet their asking prices which we consider fair. Watkins is valued at £25 million, Vieira at £30.5 million (as per his contract release clause) and Kean at £22.5 million respectively. Veton Berisha wants to leave too but because he thinks he's achieved what he set out to do when he signed here, we value him at a minimum of £9.75 million whilst Mauro Fossati wants to move home to Italy. if a team there comes in with an offer then he can go with our best wishes.

That's it for our transfer activity so far. Will we sign anyone else? Watch this space.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

Can't believe how much this has progressed since I last decided to log onto Susie @HockeyBhoy as I'm pretty sure last time I checked on this career you were at Finnish side Ilves although I could be wrong.

Good luck at Preston.
I think you might be right there @Shedender mate, it's certainly progressing.

Definitely the best save I've had for a while, and it'll keep going for a bit: at least for 10 seasons minimum. Thanks for following still....
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26: August Preview


One thing is for sure, if I thought that there would be no easy games in the lower reaches then it's certainly tougher the higher up the echelons you go. Every game is like a Cup Final so by that chalk, we're in for 46 Cup Finals in the regular season.

We begin our Championship 2025-26 campaign with a home start against local rivals Wigan Athletic. Having suffered relegation in 2018-19, the Latics spent four seasons in League One before winning it in 2022-23. They endured two play-off semi final heartaches in that time too, and finished a respectable 9th last season. In their ranks they have former Lilywhites keeper and Welsh internationalist Chris Maxwell, who spent four seasons here before leaving for Blackburn Rovers in August 2020. Other than him, the team is a mix of everything but former PSG trainee Moussa Sissako looks a quality attack minded left back and probably their best player.

After hopefully winning on opening day, our first away game of the season is a trip to the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke. Stoke, as you might know, interviewed me for their then vacant managerial role in the summer before I agreed to take over here at Preston. I'm expecting a tough game there for sure as they were relegated with us, and they're the bookies favourites to take the Championship title this season. But then again all of my sides so far, have gone on and upset the odds completely and the title favourites are left wanting. It'll be nice to go there and show them what they missed out on for sure.

After Stoke, we face Birmingham City at Deepdale. Now Blues are an unpredictable club to say the least, one minute brilliant then the next minute: absolutely abysmal. They've flitted around mid-table avoiding relegation in 2018-19, and as such I don't know what to expect from them at all. Hopefully, we will catch them on one of their off days for sure. A long away trip down to Portsmouth comes next, and they're the favourites for relegation. The last two seasons have seen them yo-yo between the Championship and League One so ideally we should be taking points from them.

Tougher tests definitely come in the other three league games in the opening month. Leeds United, the third relegated side, come to Deepdale in an appetising War of the Roses midweek clash and that will certainly be a hard game and not one for the faint hearted for sure. Derby away then follows, and they could easily be promotion contenders if they get some kind of consistency in their results. They have a Premier League standard stadium, just need to be good enough to go up. Before we play our final league game of August, we have a Carabao Cup Second Round tie to deal with in this congested opening month against an opponent to be confirmed. Depending on who we draw, it could be a reason to feature some of the fringe players and rest some of the big names. All will be decided as soon as we know who we will play.

The final game of August is a home match against West Bromwich Albion, and I'm expecting them to be up there come the end of the season. Told you, every game is indeed a Cup Final! We need to hit the ground running so to speak as a good start is much better than playing catch up football. As usual, I'll be summarising this month in two parts rather than one long winded one.

The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


A look at the squad

Here we have a look at the squad I've inherited from Philip Cocu. Obviously due to their versatility, some players may feature in more than group.


Looking at this, I think we need to see if we can get another keeper in: one that can push Beiramvand for the number one spot. Montgomery is alright as a back up but he's not got that quality to be a recognised number one and the fact, he's 31 too. This is definitely one of our weak points, and needs to be addressed.


We're pretty well covered in all positions here which is good, and there is some decent experience in place. I don't plan on using Vukcevic, Vieira or Maggiore in central defence at all but they'll be useful to have as options should we suffer an injury crisis in that particular position. Other than this, as I said I think we're pretty well covered all bases in the back line.


One thing is for sure, we've got ourselves plenty of central midfielders here. That'll be useful to find out who slots in best in my preferred 4-1-2-2-1. Don't think that I'll be shopping for any replacements unless Vieira does get his desired move and again we have an injury crisis on our hands. There's again plenty of experienced heads in there.


One thing I can say, there's definitely goals in our squad looking at the offensive options we have at our disposal. The problem will be to find out which players fit in the best. It feels like I'm spoiled for choice with an embarrassment of riches. If one player isn't doing it, then it looks like I've probably gotten myself a natural replacement just waiting to step in.

Picking a matchday squad has never been a hard task so far in this career, until now...
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


Ampadu joins Lilywhites on loan

29 July 2025

Preston North End have today confirmed the loan signing of Ethan Ampadu from Chelsea.

The 24 year old Welsh internationalist, who has picked up 55 caps for his country, has joined us for the season as we aim to make an immediate return back to the Premier League. Ampadu's signing certainly increases the options available to Mark Duell as he gets ready for North End's league opener at home to Wigan Athletic on Saturday. The manager had this to say about his newest recruit:

"I'm very pleased to welcome Ethan to Preston.

When a current international with as much experience as Ethan becomes available, you have to be in the running. I'm so pleased he has chosen us to play his football this season, and reject other options. At the age of 24, he seems to have been around ages but he is a leader and will be an influence in our room.

I'm sure our fans will be delighted to see us land such a quality player."

Ampadu has been allocated the number 23 jersey on signing.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


Lilywhites bring new goalkeeper

7 August 2025

Preston North End have today confirmed the signing of former Finnish Under-21 goalkeeper Will Jääskeläinen.

The 27 year old, son of former Bolton Wanderers keeper Jussi, has joined the club on a two year deal from Sunderland for a fee of £120,000. Prior to signing for the Black Cats, Jääskeläinen spent six seasons at Crewe Alexandra making 262 appearances in between the sticks for the Railwaymen.

Manager Mark Duell had been looking for cover for regular first choice Alireza Beiranvand, and in Jääskeläinen he feels like he's got the perfect choice.

"It's no secret that we were a bit thin on the goalkeeper ranks.

Bringing in Will (Jääskeläinen) fits the criteria I was looking for. He's a confident keeper, and I'm sure he will do well for us when called upon. If he is as good as his father then we will have found ourselves a bit of a bargain. Sometimes you don't always have to spend big, you can find hidden gems at any time."

Jääskeläinen has been handed the number 1 jersey.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


Carabao Cup First Round Draw


14 August 2025

The draw for the second round stage of this season's Carabao Cup was made today.

North End have been given a tough encounter with Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers at Deepdale. This game will be played on Tuesday 26 August 2025.

The Cup also sees an interesting rerun of the 1973 FA Cup Final between Leeds United and Sunderland whilst there's a West Country derby in place when Cheltenham Town host Bristol Rovers. League Two side Sutton United host Premier League Southampton and hope to add another giant killing to their history
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


August 2025 Review (Part One)

Welcome to the first part of August's game reviews.

Saturday 2 August 2025

After playing our five pre-season games, and enjoying success in the majority of them, it was time for the bread and butter of the domestic league action. The bid for the return to the Premiership begins here.

Our opening game would be against local rivals Wigan Athletic in front of a sell out crowd at Deepdale.. The match would see the débuts of Ethan Ampadu and Nikola Vukcevic who have been two of our new signings this season. We controlled the game and opened the scoring after 23 minutes. A corner from Jack Harrison was headed back out to the winger, who skipped around his marker with ease, then drilled it in low to the edge of the six yard box where Ollie Watkins arrived on cue to sidefoot home. Our second goal; which put the game beyond the Latics, came after 67 minutes from the penalty spot. A hard tackle from Curtis Nelson was deemed a foul by referee Stephen Martin, and Brijani Ibrahimi stepped up to assume responsibility. The Albanian had only been on the pitch just three minutes when the spot kick was awarded but he placed the kick straight down the middle of the goal with keeper Cardelli committed to his left already. The perfect winning start.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira; Freuler, Vukcevic; Harrison, Watkins, Kean. Substitutes: Tipple (for Cuevas 22), Ibrahimi (for Kean 64), Palmer (for Ronaldo Vieira 73), Konsa, Montgomery, Berisha, Derbyshire.
Goalscorers: Watkins (23), Ibrahimi (pen 67)
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison (Preston North End)
Attendance: 20,830 (1041 Away)

Wednesday 6 August 2025

The first away game of the season was a trip to the Bet365 Stadium to face the title favourites. Stoke, of course, you remember interviewed and declined me for their then vacant managerial role in the summer before Preston came calling so I was keen to put one of on them for sure. We made two changes for the game, both down injury: Cristian Cuevas (damaged foot) and Remo Freuler (pulled groin) were out with Richard Tipple and Mateus Uribe coming in. The opening goal came after 14 minutes when a raking pass from Watkins found Moise Kean in space and the Italian took two touches before blasting in a shot that beat the keeper at his near post. However, the lead lasted just seven minutes when Tymon's left wing cross was headed by Etebo. Midfielder Ronaldo Vieira had to come off with a niggle five minutes before half time but once more the substitute made an almost immediate impact with what turned out to be the winner. Harrison was baulked in the area by Tymon and up stepped Kasey Palmerto produce the perfect penalty despite the keeper getting a hand to it.

Stoke pushed for a leveller all way through the second half but we held sway, and we came back up the M6 with three massive points.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Tipple; Ronaldo Vieira; Uribe, Vukcevic; Harrison, Watkins, Kean. Substitutes: Palmer (for Ronaldo Vieira 40), Ibrahimi (for Kean 48), Musonda (for Watkins 73), Konsa, Montgomery, Berisha, Derbyshire.
Goalscorers: Kean (14), Palmer (pen 42)
Booked: Roberts
Man of the Match: Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City)
Attendance: 25,567 (1776 Preston)

Saturday 9 August 2025

Freuler would retain to the starting eleven in the next match as we hosted Jasper Carrott's favourite side, the Blues from Birmingham. Unlike the first two games, it was the opponents that took the lead in the 22nd minute when a hanging cross to the far post was headed in by Azcona for his first goal of the season. Yet we were only behind for five minutes when Harrison sped down the right wing before Kean stretched those neck muscles to steer a header across the keeper and in. Buoyed by this, we scored twice before half time to go 3-1 ahead. After 37 minutes, a cross from Tipple was headed on Kean and nobody picked up Harrison to score one of his easiest ever goals. Then a couple of minutes later, a Harrison corner was headed goalwards by Ronaldo Vieira but Vukcevic had the final touch to force the ball home.

There was more goals in the second half, with three in as many minutes. Just 57 seconds into that second half, a swift Blues counter saw Azcona found Mubele to place an unstoppable shot into the net. Then in the 47th minute, one of the goal of the season candidates came from the boot of Ampadu who curled home a free kick from fully 30 yards out. Wow, just wow! But Blues didn't go down lie down and scored their third goal in the 49th minute when Mubele found the back of the net again. With the opponents looking for a fourth and equalising goal, we scored a clincher in time added on. This was down to great work down the left by substitute Charly Musonda saw the Belgian winger cross and Kean produced another superb header to net his 3rd of the season and second of the match. An amazing game...well for the neutrals right?

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Tipple; Ronaldo Vieira; Freuler, Vukcevic; Harrison, Watkins, Kean. Substitutes: Konsa (for Koundé 60), Ibrahimi (for Kean 74), Crompton (for Ampadu 81), Ibrahimi, Montgomery, Uribe, Crompton.
Goalscorers: Kean (27, 90+2), Harrison (37), Vukcevic (39), Ampadu (47)
Booked: Harrison
Man of the Match: Moise Kean (Preston North End)
Attendance: 18,738 (1041 Away)

Saturday 16 August 2025

Our fourth game of the season would be a long hike to the South Coast and the historic stadium of Fratton Park in Portsmouth. Once more it was a bit of a goal fest but we came away with the points but we need to tighten up at the back end. Uribe once more came into the starting eleven after Freuler had picked up another small knock, and it was the veteran Colombian who opened the scoring after just five minutes: cracking home an effort from the edge of the box that gave the keeper no chance whatsoever. Three minutes later, we went 2-0 ahead when a free kick from Uribe was headed weakly back out to Ronaldo Vieira.who headed it back into the path of Vukcevic who scored his second goal of the season at the second attempt: he had hit the post initially. Then we hit two more quick goals to go 4-0 up after just 11 minutes. That third came when Ronaldo Vieira pulled away from his marker at a Harrison corner and steered his header into the net. Then straight after the restart, Pompey conceded possession and from a Tipple cross to the back post, Harrison volleyed home.

We had a gap before the next goal, which came after 29 minutes and it was our fifth of the afternoon. A counter instigated by Harrison saw his spot the run of Kean who had the time and space to drill home another well struck effort into the far corner of the net: his fourth in three games! Portsmouth pulled one back ten minutes before half time when Heckman headed home. Then for the second successive game, we seemed to allow the opponent back into the game. Polish midfielder Jakub Moder made it 5-2 in the 68th minute when we dozed off at a corner and it became 5-3 with seven minutes left when Tipple diverted a Moder shot into his own net. But we refocused after that and came away our fourth win in four games, we were just happy that the early 29 minute damage of five goals had done enough damage to Portsmouth.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Tipple; Ronaldo Vieira; Uribe, Vukcevic; Harrison, Watkins, Kean. Substitutes: Palmer (for Vukcevic 62), Palmer (for Vukcevic 72), Musonda (for Watkins 79), Konsa, Jääskeläinen, Kirby, Musonda.
Goalscorers: Uribe (5), Vukcevic (8), Ronaldo Vieira (11), Harrison (11), Kean (29)
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison (Preston North End)
Attendance: 19,644 (958 Preston)

After four games, this is how we stand:

The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

Great start at PNE - good luck at maintaining it.
noir et blanc armée

Read my FM20 Career WAWAW

Great start at PNE - good luck at maintaining it.

Thank you, I hope so too. It's been quite a career so far....
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


August 2025 Review (Part Two)

Welcome to the second part of August's game reviews.

Tuesday 19 August 2025

After winning four out of four, our next test would be a proper War of the Roses against Leeds United. The team still picked itself as we lined up in our usual formation. But Leeds were a tough nut to crack and it was they who took the lead in the 21st minute. That goal came when Egyptian winger Zizo was given time to run at our defence then thread the ball to Oli McBurnie and he lashed a shot beyond Beiranvand. Yet we were only behind for just nine minutes and what an equaliser it was. The ball was worked to the edge of the penalty area where Nikola Vukcevic was lurking and the experienced midfielder took one touch before firing home an unstoppable effort that Balcombe in the Whites goal had no hope in saving. Both teams tried for a second but neither defence buckled and a fantastic encounter ended all square. 100 per cent record gone but still unbeaten.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Tipple; Ronaldo Vieira; Uribe, Vukcevic; Harrison, Watkins; Kean. Substitutes: Ibrahimi (for Watkins 53), Palmer (for Ronaldo Vieira 72), Konsa (for Vukcevic 83), Kirby, Jääskeläinen, Crompton, Griffiths.
Goalscorers: Vukcevic (30)
Man of the Match: Nikola Vukcevic (Preston North End)
Attendance: 18,586 (1041 Away)

Saturday 23 August 2025

Following that hard game against Leeds, we had our sixth league game of the season at Pride Park. It proved to be a bit a ram raid (pardon the pun) as we took away the points despite the home side having the majority of the play and chances. The team still remained unchanged as we opted to continue with Richard Tipple at left back despite Cristiàn Cuevas being fully recovered from injury. We took the lead in the 32nd minute when Ollie Watkins saw his header blocked by Lawrence but straight to Ronaldo Vieira who lashed home his second of the season. Our attacking options took a blow in the 52nd minute when Vukcevic limped off with a twisted ankle. A real shame considering the Montegrin national team skipper has been in great form since signing this summer.

With quarter of an hour to go, the Rams were level. A rapid counter attack had us back pedalling and from a Hirons cross, Jamie Soule applied the finishing touch beyond Beiranvand. However, four minutes we nabbed what proved to be the winning goal when Kalas impeded Brijan Ibrahimi as they challenged for a Connor Roberts cross. The Albanian took responsibility for the spot kick and produced another well executed spot kick for his second of the season. Back to winning ways!

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Tipple; Ronaldo Vieira; Uribe, Vukcevic; Harrison, Watkins; Kean. Substitutes: Palmer (for Vukcevic 52), Ibrahimi (for Kean 65), Griffiths (for Watkins 81), Kirby, Jääskeläinen, Crompton, Konsa.
Goalscorers: Ronaldo Vieira (32), Ibrahimi (pen 79)
Booked: Tipple (59)
Man of the Match: Ronaldo Vieira (Preston North End)
Attendance: 18,586 (1041 Preston)

Saturday 30 August 2025

We finished the opening month with a visit from West Bromwich Albion, a team I'm half expecting to be challenging for promotion when it comes to the crunch. With Vukcevic on the sidelines, Remo Freuler came back after his own injury to partner Mateus Uribe in midfield, Cristiàn Cuevas replaced Tipple but other than those two changes we were unchanged. We were ahead after 18 minutes and with another stunning strike from outside the area, this time Uribe with an unstoppable effort that just whistled by the leaden footed Albion keeper. It was the Colombian's second of the season. They would equalise in the 32nd minute when Hein played in Vido and he cracked in a nice effort to the far corner from an acute angle.

However, we would go in at half-time 2-1 ahead thanks to a goal five minutes before the break. A corner from Jack Harrison was headed to Moise Kean and he instantly switched it back out wide to Harrison but continued his run into the six yard box to meet the winger's cross with a deft header. It ended a mini barren spell in front of goal for the Italian and a fifth goal of the season. Ten minutes after half time, we had to endure another reshuffle as Watkins came off with a twisted ankle similar to what had happened to Vukcevic a week before. But we didn't let that bother us and two goals in as many minutes just after the hour; took the game away from Albion and confirmed a convincing win for us. In the 61st minute, Ibrahimi netted with a deflected shot after Albion failed to deal with a Harrison free-kick for his third of the season. Then Harrison helped himself to a third of the season when he showed incredible skill to bamboozle the Albion defence like a knife through hot butter, finishing with a well struck effort into the top corner.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira; Uribe, Freuler; Harrison, Watkins; Kean. Substitutes: Ibrahimi (for Watkins 58), Maggiore (for Uribe 72), Konsa (for Ampadu 82), Griffiths, Jääskeläinen, Tipple, Cain.
Goalscorers: Uribe (18), Kean (40), Ibrahimi (61), Harrison (63)
Booked: Uribe (41)
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison (Preston North End)
Attendance: 19,307 (1041 Away)


Tuesday 26 August 2025

Our second round tie in this season's Carabao Cup was a tough one for us as we were pitted against Wolverhampton Wanderers, who have established themselves in the Premier League without breaking into the elite group. They fielded as strong as a side as possible, with Mason Mount and Diogo Jota threatening from midfield. We chose to rest some key players due to the fixtures played in this month, this meant a début for goalkeeper Will Jääskeläinen, a return from injury for Cuevas, and first starts of the season for Ezri Konsa, Harrison Kirby and Andrew Ferguson whilst Ibrahimi led the line. But it was a game that if we had our shooting boots on then it could have been a different story. Two late goals though would be enough to secure Wolves path into the third round where they will travel to Reading.

The first came with just twelve minutes to go when Swedish striker John Guidetti played in Morgan Gibbs-White and he finished well despite the angle appearing to narrow on him. Then as we pushed for an equaliser that would force penalties, Wolves scored a second in time added on. This time Jota was the architect with a well weighted pass and Guidetti did the rest with a confident finish past Jääskeläinen. So our Carabao Cup progress ends rather abruptly which is a shame considering the quality we have here. It does mean we can concentrate on the real objective though...

Team: Jääskeläinen; Roberts ©, Konsa, Ampadu, Cuevas; Freuler, Palmer; Ferguson, Kirby, Kean; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Bächle (for Kirby 61), Watkins (for Ibrahimi 76), Ronaldo Vieira (for Ampadu 81), Koundé, Beiranvand, Crompton, Griffiths.
Goalscorers: None
Man of the Match: Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Attendance: 10,431 (1184 Away)

The league standings at the end of the opening month are as follows though:


A very good start to life back in the Championship with only Leeds stopping us from having seven wins out of wins. Goals are coming from defenders, midfielders and strikers which is pleasing and the team seem to have adjusted to my formation of choice very well indeed. We're scoring plenty of goals, averaging three goals a game but I think we need to tighten up a bit in defence a bit. It feels like if you score on us then we'll score a few more back in your net! That small gripe aside, I really couldn't ask for anything better considering this is my first season at this level and if it stays this way then my reputation can only increase.

We might have spent a bit on transfers, and have less than £1.7 million spare for new buys. A large proportion has been taken by the loan fee Chelsea wanted when we brought in Ethan Ampadu but you have to bring in quality when it becomes available. I'm very happy with things. However, more tests await..
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


August 2025 Award Winners

We've gone through the game reviews, now to see who won on the opening month's awards.

Manager of the Month:
Start as you mean to go on I suppose. First month in the second tier and an unbeaten beginning to it. The personal accolades just keep on accumulating...

Player of the Month:
I think Jack was very hard done by not to win this award as he's been superb in August for us. The winner scored twice against us but still finished on the losing side; suppose there's plenty of time for one of boys to take this award. It will happen I'm sure.

Young Player of the Month:
Wasn't expecting anything to happen here to be honest. We have a squad of seasoned campaigners at Deepdale and unless somehow we uncover a wonderkid then don't foresee much happening in this category this month or any month for that matter.

Goal of the Month:
Is this the first part of a Leeds love-in? We scored some cracking long range efforts in August for but only Nikola got a mention. Mateus (Uribe) and particularly Ethan (Ampadu) who scored a superb long range free-kick can feel justifiably aggrieved not to be considered.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26: September Preview


After the international break, we embark on five more games in a 17 day spell to try and build on our impressive start.

We resume action with a trip to Oakwell to face Barnsley. The Tykes have made a steady start this season and could undo us if we are too complacent. I'm just hoping that damn mascot Toby (see below) isn't up to his usual antics what with trying to distract the opposition. If anything, we are hoping to put him and his team in the dog house. Striker Tyrese Campbell, son of former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin, will be a threat in front of goal whilst Scottish midfielder Alex Mowatt will look to pull the strings in midfield.

That crazy mascot.....

After Barnsley we host Millwall in midweek and again they are a team that likes to mix it up. They haven't had the best of starts but we can't underestimate them by their league position. This is followed by a trip to East Anglia and Carrow Road. Norwich have, over the years, been a bit of a yo yo side as they seem to bounce between the Premier League and the Championship. They have the division's top scorer from last season in the shape of Adam Idah and I'll be delighted if we can head home with a point but three would be amazing.

We then host Brentford, a team that won the League One play-off final last season. They could surprise us; see why I said that every game this season appears to be like a Cup Final. The month ends with a tricky away trip to local rivals Blackburn Rovers. Rovers, of course, interviewed me after the end of my first season at Tranmere but I wasn't interested then. Anyway they're a team that are still trying to bounce back into the Premiership after being relegated in 2011-12. They are still owned by the Venky's by the way, Bragging rights are on the line as we complete more than 25% of our league games once the final whistle sounds at Ewood.

Remaining Transfer activity


We had a bit more transfer activity to end the month. Joining Nikola Vukcevic and Jake Collier as newcomers were Welsh internationalist Ethan Ampadu, Finnish goalkeeper Will Jääskeläinen and German midfielder Jonas Bächle. Signing Ampadu took a lot out of the transfer budget as Chelsea wanted £450,000 per month to be paid as a loan fee. Surprisingly the board sanctioned it and we beat off Stoke City to his signing. Jääskeläinen is more than capable back up for Alireza Beiranvand and a better option than James Montgomery who I'm now looking to offload if I can but there's zero interest at the moment. Finally Bächle is a highly rated midfielder that we signed after a successful trial period. He had a short spell with Bayer Leverkusen before being released in the summer, and possesses great technical ability. We will be looking to slowly get him up to speed with the game here before launching him, he's got some untapped potential we want to make use of. To grab him on a free transfer might be a bargain, and I've got a habit of finding free transfer gems right?

Five players left too, four on loan. Youngsters Ian Tierney, Andy Derbyshire and Ged Smalley have gone to get some valuable league match experience at Chorley, Burton Albion and Barrow respectively. If they do we will, then it augurs well for their future and shows what a great youth set up we have here. Experienced attacking midfielder/striker Veton Berisha has joined divisional rivals Huddersfield Town on loan for the season but if someone comes to meet his asking price then I'll be selling him on. One player that has moved on is another experienced player in the shape of Marco Fossati who has gone back home to Italy to join Pisa. He wanted to go back home and even though we took less than what we really wanted, he got his wish.

Messrs Vieira, Watkins and Kean still want to leave after relegation but as of now, nobody wants to pay their respective asking prices. Perhaps if we go straight back up then they might drop their requests, it's mirroring what happened at Tranmere and we all know what happened in the end...the wantaways decided to stay! I'm hoping this happens here....
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


September 2025 Review

Welcome to September's game reviews.

Saturday 13 September 2025

After the international break, we headed over the Pennines and into South Yorkshire to face Barnsley. Any gnawing doubts about a potential upset would be quashed as we scored twice in the opening seven minutes to delight our away support. The opening goal came in the sixth minute when a deep cross from Cristiàn Cuevas found its way to the far post where Jack Harrison volleyed home his fourth of the season. The winger would create the second a minute later with a free-kick that was clipped into the danger area and Italian striker Moise Kean headed home his sixth of the campaign. It was as dominant an away performance as you could ever wish for, and we added two more in the second half to wrap up a comprehensive win. In the 52nd minute Kean got his second of the afternoon and seventh of the season from close range after a Brijani Ibrahimi shot rebounded favourably into his path

The rout was completed in the 72nd minute when a Harrison corner was met by a powerful header from skipper Jules Koundé for the captain's first of the season.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Konsa, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira; Maggiore, Freuler; Harrison, Kean; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Palmer (for Maggiore 64), Griffiths (for Ibrahimi 71), Cain (for Roberts 71), Crompton, Jääskeläinen, Bächle, Tipple.
Goalscorers: Harrison (6), Kean (7, 52), Koundé (72)
Booked: Roberts (2)
Man of the Match: Moise Kean (Preston North End)
Attendance: 18,434 (1140 Preston)

Tuesday 16 September 2025

Midweek saw us entertain a struggling Millwall side at the wrong end of the table, and the result went with the form book despite the Lions having the majority of the possession. We took the lead three minutes before half time when a Kasey Palmer inswinging free-kick was met by the head of left-back Cuevas who made no mistake from six yards out. We added our second in the 64th minute when Millwall failed to deal with a Cuevas deep set piece and Palmer volleyed home his second of the season. A third would arrive in the 81st minute and it was a memorable moment for one of our new signings. Picking up a pass from Harrison, Jonas Bächle took a touch before placing a shot into the corner. What a moment for the former Leverkusen midfielder! Millwall pulled back a consolation in injury time through Spanish striker Juan Muñoz but that's all it was.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira; Maggiore, Palmer; Harrison, Kean; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Bächle (for Maggiore 67), Tipple (for Kean 75), Cain (for Roberts 78), Crompton, Jääskeläinen, Freuler, Griffiths.
Goalscorers: Cuevas (42), Palmer (64), Bächle (81)
Booked: Roberts (2), Harrison (14), Maggiore (66), Kean (73)
Man of the Match: Kasey Palmer (Preston North End)
Attendance: 15,483 (917 Away)

Saturday 20 September 2025

You've all heard of super sub David Fairclough right? The guy in the 70s that Liverpool used to send on with regularity and he used to make something happen for them, well we had our own super sub in Norfolk and it got us a point when it looked we would leave with none after dominating the Canaries. Chance after chance was passed up, and to be honest it felt like one of those days. The home side took the lead with eight minutes to go to half time when Che Adams skipped away from Cuevas to angle a shot across Alireza Beiranvand and into the far corner. it could have been a hell of a lot worse had last season's Championship top scorer Adam Idah brought his scoring boots to the game but thankfully he hadn't as he squandered numerous opportunities presented to him. Then as we entered the third minute of four minutes added on, we scored a dramatic equaliser.

Two of my substitutes were at the heart of it, and I'm so thankful for them to be honest as it spared the blushes of others. Bächle fed the ball out wide left to Richard Tipple who cut inside before unleashing a dipping effort that the home keeper got nowhere near and nestled into the net via the help of the crossbar. Some way to celebrate your first ever goal for the Club, an outstanding effort that wouldn't have looked out of place in the Premiership. Still didn't see Auntie Delia though....

Team: Beiranvand; Konsa, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira; Freuler, Palmer; Harrison, Kean; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Bächle (for Palmer 61), Crompton (for Ampadu 66), Tipple (for Ibrahimi 74), Cain, Jääskeläinen, Maggiore, Griffiths.
Goalscorer: Tipple (90+3)
Man of the Match: Richard Tipple (Preston North End)
Attendance: 27,044 (1052 Preston)

Saturday 27 September 2025

[justify]After the drama in Norwich, we had to come from behind to take points against newly promoted Brentford at Deepdale. The Bees stung us in the 11th minute and it was a sloppy goal to concede from our side. A long ball forward should have been dealt with comfortably but we dozed, and Akram Atif had all the time in the world to walk in and place a shot past the exposed Beiranvand We did level matters in the 27th minute when Brentford failed to clear a low cross from Connor Roberts and Harrison latched onto that loose ball to drill home his fifth of the season. Despite this, I was far from happy when it came to half time and gave them an absolute roasting. It was hairdryer treatment time that even Sir Alex Ferguson would have been proud of delivering

The winner would come seven minutes into the second half. A superb overlapping run from Cuevas which resulted in a peach of a cross and a header into the top corner from the onrushing Kasey Palmer for the midfielder's third of the season. We should have had more but once again were wasted in front of net. This should have been an absolute hammering dished out by us but we got over the line, and three more points on the board.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira; Vukcevic, Palmer; Harrison, Kean; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Griffiths (for Ibrahimi 55), Bächle (for Vukcevic 64), Freuler (for Ronaldo Vieira 74), Cain, Jääskeläinen, Konsa, Tipple.
Goalscorers: Harrison (27), Palmer (52)
Booked: Rolando Vieira (48)
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison (Preston North End)
Attendance: 16,810 (755 Away)

Tuesday 30 September 2025

On a rainy night in Blackburn, a late equaliser extended our unbeaten start to the season to twelve games and ensured that Rovers wouldn't go home with some early season bragging rights. We opened the scoring midway through the first half when Harrison scored his sixth of the season with a placed effort into the corner following a wonderful no look and round the corner pass from Palmer. We looked like we would go into the dressing room ahead at half time when they equalised in the 44th minute, Beiranvand saving Lower's header but the rebound popped out to Brereton who had the simple task of nodding home from two yards out.

As the rain continued to fall, Rovers snatched the lead in the 67th minute. We lost the ball upfield and they broke, Brereton providing the cross for Marcondes to head home with aplomb. It was another less than pretty goal to concede. It meant we were chasing the game once more, and with eight minutes left: got an equaliser to ensure a share of the spoils. Harrison provided an out swinging corner and captain Koundé supplied the headed finish. We would finish the game with ten men though as Swiss midfielder Remo Freuler limped off injury time and we had used all our substitutions but the unbeaten run is still intact for now!

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Konsa, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira; Freuler, Palmer; Harrison, Kean; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Tipple (for Ibrahimi 57), Griffiths (for Kean 72), Bächle (for Harrison 90+2), Ampadu, Jääskeläinen, Cain, Vukcevic.
Goalscorers: Harrison (22), Koundé (82)
Booked: Roberts (58)
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison (Preston North End)
Attendance: 23,976 (7367 Preston)

The league standings at the end of September reads as follows:


So we maintain our lead at the top of the table and are one of two unbeaten sides left in the Division. We've made an excellent start and it's still nice to see goals coming from all parts of gthe team. It has to be admitted that we could have lost one or two games this season so the warning signs are already there for us to heed. We have a pretty settled line up in our ranks but strength in depth in all positions should we suffer a bit of an injury crisis. Added to that we have players such as Charly Musonda ready to step in as he comes back from an early season injuriy, which is like getting a new player in for us.

There's been no declared interest in the wantaway three, and now right-back Connor Roberts has joined them as he wants to play at a higher level. Well if we keep at it, he'll get that wish with us. The January transfer window could be very interesting. Now time for yet another international break and get some of our injured healed.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


September 2025 Award Winners

After the game reviews, now to see who won on September's awards.

Manager of the Month:
Despite staying unbeaten again, I was nowhere in the running for the managerial gong. Congrats to Mr Beattie.

Player of the Month:
For the second month in a row, Jack finishes runner up. He's been brilliant for us so far, I'm sure he will win this at some point in the campaign. That is though, if we can keep hold of him as big clubs are bound to be sniffing around.

Young Player of the Month:
Nothing much to write home about here..

Goal of the Month:
The winner was Joe Adams of QPR, on loan from Middlesbrough. Remember him well from when he used to feature for my Welsh Under-21 side, scored some cracking goals then. Wish he could learn to smile though...
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26: October Preview


Another five game spell to take us into November, and 17 league games played.

It's a quick turnaround after the local derby against Blackburn Rovers as we travel to Reading on a rare Friday night game. The game was supposed to be on the Saturday but Sky have decided to screen the game live, so the nation can see first hand what we are planning here. I've had a rather decent record when it comes to live games, in fact I never ever lost when I was in charge of Le Mans and when their games were screened live. Hopefully we can put on a good showing and extend our advantage at the top before Leeds play a day later.

There's another international break after this. Back in the day, there was no such thing as this. However, it's a good chance for some of our injured bodies to recover further. I did think about playing a bounce game against the Reserves but decided against it in the end. The first game back after that international break is a home game against my boyhood team, Sunderland. Before getting the Preston job, I applied for the Sunderland job not once but twice but both times didn't ever get an interview. Perhaps this will be the right time to show them what they missed out. They're a big club who should be in the Premier League but for one reason or another: have fallen on hard times.

After Sunderland's visit here to Deepdale, it's a long old trek to the West Country to face Bristol City at Ashton Gate. They will be a real test of our credentials for an immediate return for sure as they're always there or thereabouts in the promotion mix every season. However, they always seem to fall short when it comes down to the crunch. If we can go there and take at least a point then I'll be more than pleased for sure.

We play our penultimate game in October at home to Huddersfield Town. Veton Berisha is on loan to them so as part of the loan agreement, he will not be allowed to face us. The Terriers will definitely have some bite about them and like Leeds, promises to be a rip roaring War of the Roses encounter. The month concludes with an away trip to the East Midlands to face Nottingham Forest. another historical name from the past. The name Brian Clough comes to mind, right? We can expect another tough encounter indeed, and hope to chop those Tricky Trees down to size.

All five games are winnable and if we can remain unbeaten after this then perhaps talk about the P word can be on the menu. But as always, we're taking each game as it comes and as we call it: a Cup Final!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


October 2025 Review

Welcome to the review of October games.

Friday 3 October 2025

Our first game in October was a live game in Berkshire to face Reading, and to be honest we produced probably the most insipid league performance this season in front of those cameras. We chose to rest regular right-back Connor Roberts as he has played a lot of games in succession and needed to be fresh for the upcoming internationals whilst Nikola Vukcevic replaced the injured Remo Freuler. Chances did get created but we just could not hit the net, for example in the 10th minute a long range effort from Jack Harrison was parried by the home keeper and all that Brijan Ibrahimi had to do was to put away the rebound for 1-0. What does he do? Yeah, shoots straight at the keeper. Should have been a goal. Moise Kean had a header saved ,Harrison went close. One of those nights...

Reading obviously knew then they could get something from the game ans scored the only goal three minutes from half time whem Billy Gilmour's pass was brought down by Jack Marriott and with his next touch; blasted the ball home. So it went proved to unlucky 13 for us as we slipped to our first league loss of the campaign, and squandering a chance to extend the advantage at the top.

Team: Beiranvand; Konsa, Koundé ©, Ampadu, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira; Palmer, Vukcevic; Harrison, Kean; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Tipple (for Cuevas HT), Uribe (for Palmer 61), Griffiths (for Kean 71), Roberts, Jääskeläinen, Bächle, Cain.
Goalscorers: None
Man of the Match: Jack Marriott (Reading)
Attendance: 15,767 (717 Preston)

Friday 17 October 2025

After the international break, we were back in action and with another live match. Unlike at Reading, we actually showed up and took my boyhood team apart to shreds with midfielder Kasey Palmer stealing all the headlines. Sunderland have the leakiest defence in the division and boy did it show, and if they manage to stay up then it'll be a miracle of some kind. The biggest surprise was that it took us 34 minutes to actually open the scoring. It came about when Cristiàn Cuevas was tripped in the area by Brewitt, Palmer assumed responsibility from twelve yards and dispatched it into the roof of the net with the keeper going the wrong way. Six minutes later and both the team and the midfielder had a second to celebrate, some patient play saw Andrew Ferguson (on early for Charly Musonda who had picked up a wee niggle in his first start of the season) feed Palmer and he finished again with confidence.

In the 58th minute we scored a third and a hat trick for the former Chelsea starlet. Ferguson was clattered in the area by Blackett and the referee was left with no option to point to the spot once more. With nerves of steel, Palmer erred the effort right into the bottom left hand corner and wheel away with celebration. It was his sixth of the season. The rout was complete in the 78th minute when a fierce drive from the hat-trick man was parried out to Ferguson by Lumley only for the unfortunate keeper to then push the winger's effort into his own goal. One way to bounce back from your first league loss of the season, eh?

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Konsa, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira, Vukcevic, Palmer; Harrison, Musonda; Kean. Substitutes: Ferguson (for Musonda 39), Tipple (for Harrison 66), Griffiths (for Kean 75), Crompton, Jääskeläinen, Uribe, Bächle.
Goalscorers: Palmer (pen 34, 40, pen 58), Lumley (og 78)
Booked: Konsa (71)
Man of the Match: Kasey Palmer (Preston North End)
Attendance: 16,270 (2016 Away)

Tuesday 21 October 2025

If you are going to be promoted, sometimes you have to grind out a win from time to time and that's what we had to do in Bristol. As he was on a drought in front of goal, I decided to drop Kean and give Ibrahimi another start up front to find out if I have an recognised fox in the box up top. We also continued to keep Ethan Ampadu out of the starting eleven to try and keep him fresh as he has also played a lot of minutes this season and we're only in October. One goal decided this game, and thankfully it came our way in the 54th minute. After some sustained pressure, the ball landed at the feet of Ibrahimi who cracked it home from ten yards out for his fourth of the season. City tried to poach an equaliser but we were in no mood and the almost 800 away fans went back north celebrating yet another three points in the bag. Happy days!

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Konsa, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira, Vukcevic, Palmer; Harrison, Musonda; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Ferguson (for Harrison 72), Bächle (for Ronaldo Vieira 77), Ampadu (for Ibrahimi 89), Compton, Jääskeläinen, Tipple, Kean.
Goalscorer: Ibrahimi (54)
Booked: Cuevas (90)
Man of the Match: Connor Roberts (Preston North End)
Attendance: 17,447 (796 Preston)

Saturday 25 October 2025

Could we make it three wins on the spin when the Terriers came to town on the Saturday? Well we made the perfect start with a goal inside just two minutes thanks to Harrison and his seventh goal this season. This was a well struck volley that gave the visiting custodian no chance whatsoever, and had our fans jumping with delight. The winger created the second goal which came in the 27th minute, It was his flighted free-kick which found skipper Jules Koundé and his header went into the net off the underside of the bar. The Terriers certainly had a bit of bite about them, understandably so in a Roses battle, and pulled one back with six minutes to go when Simon Ford netted. But we held on for another three huge points and ensured those visitors went back over the Pennines with their tails between their legs, as well as seeing their fans leave barking mad at their team's performance.

Team: Beiranvand; Cain, Koundé ©, Konsa, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira, Vukcevic, Palmer; Harrison, Musonda; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Crompton (for Cain HT), Ferguson (for Musonda 65), Kean (for Ibrahimi 76), Tipple, Jääskeläinen, Bächle, Griffiths.
Goalscorers: Harrison (2), Koundé (27)
Booked: Ferguson (83)
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison (Preston North End)
Attendance: 20,317 (1041 Away)

Wednesday 29 October 2025

We concluded the month with a trip to Nottingham to try and fell the Forest, and to be honest: I was going to be happy before the game with a point. We came out with a point so you could say that we achieved my objective then. It didn't begin as intended though as we were caught dozing at a free-kick inside three minutes and Florentino Dorado was left unmarked at the far post to beat Alireza Beiranvand with ease. Our hopes took an apparent nosedive in the 63th minute when Harrison limped off with pulled ankle ligaments, an injury that is going to keep him out for a couple of weeks minimum. However, we got an equaliser with a quarter of an hour left when Vukcevic found Musonda who quickly switched the ball from right foot to left and then lashed an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net that beat the home keeper at his near post. It was the Belgian internationalist's first of the season.

Team: Beiranvand; Roberts, Koundé ©, Konsa, Cuevas; Ronaldo Vieira, Palmer; Harrison, Bächle, Musonda; Ibrahimi. Substitutes: Ferguson (for Harrison 63), Vukcevic (for Palmer 66), Crompton (for Ronaldo Vieira 80), Tipple, Jääskeläinen, Kean, Griffiths.
Goalscorer: Musonda (75)
Man of the Match: Florentino Dorado (Nottingham Forest)
Attendance: 24,681 (1156 Preston)

The league standings at the end of October reads as follows:


So we finally managed to lose a league game but we bounced back though such is the measure of this team. Even if one player has an off day, there are others that will step up and perform. We're going to miss the creative force that is Jack Harrison but we have strength in depth to deal with such matters. I'm worried though that Moise Kean is not being as proflific as he should be in this division, he really should be in double figures already by the now. Also slightly concerning is that Connor Roberts is already one match away from a suspension and we're just finishing October. As club vice-captain I wasn't expecting this.

Talking about strength in depth, I'm debating about giving Jääskeläinen a bit of a run in between the sticks. Beiranvand is a good number one at this level but he needs a challenge and maybe Jääskeläinen can provide that with a few games. The Finn has been a low budget buy, not as if we have spent big bucks on him, but if we do go up this season then the purchase of a quality keeper is going to be on my shopping list. If we can keep at it as it is then all is looking good

One league loss in 17 isn't not bad is it?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


October 2025 Award Winners

After the game reviews, now to see who won on the latest awards.

Manager of the Month:
Another different winner this month. Think if I had taken full points at Forest then I might have been in with a shout but hey ho.

Player of the Month:
Brother plays for Watford in the Premier League, and to be honest he wasn't that brilliant when we won at Ashton Gate. In fact he was a fault for our winning goal! Dodgy barnet it has to be said.

Young Player of the Month:
Is he related to Royston Vasey, aka Chubby Brown?

Goal of the Month:
The winner this time was Nir Bitton of Bristol City who produced a curling long range effort. Yes, the very same former Celtic player Nir Bitton, and like his team mate who won Player of the Month: he was pretty much anonymous in our win at Ashton Gate.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...


2025-26: November Preview


Can't believe that we will have played 22 league games by the time November is completed, that's almost half of the campaign dealt with.

Well we start off November with a home visit from the 'Boro. Middlesbrough started off well but seem to have to tailed off a little bit to be honest. They're just outside the play off spots at the moment and have only lost twice in the campaign. That said, they are a little bit dry on goals with just 18 goals scored in 16 games. On the flip side, they have only conceded 9 in the same amount of games. That itself is a stat to be proud of as it's the meanest defence in the actual division. With us being the division's top scorers with 41 then it promises to be a bit of an interesting encounter.

Following the Middlesbrough game, we go down the M6 to face the Villa. They've surprised me personally as they're mid-table when I was half expecting them to be challenging us for promotion and the title. They're a club that's steeped in history and in 1982 surprised Bayern Munich with a 1-0 European Cup Final (as it was known then) win and it seems ages since that. Villa have had a bit of topsy turvy time since then and a 17th place finish in 2023-24 has been their lowest finish ever. A fallen giant indeed.

We get another international break, the third one this season already, after the Villa game with our players jetting off here, there and everywhere to feature for their respective nations. Hopefully all will come back injury free to resume our promotion and ideally, title challenge. The first game after the break is another huge one as we entertain Queens Park Rangers here at Deepdale, They're this season's surprise packet so far considering they finished 21st last campaign and only survived by three points. They have goals in them from all parts, a bit like ourselves, but midfielder Eberechi Eze will be a big miss for them as he tops their scoring charts with nine in 14 games and is out injured for the next two months or so. Let's hope he's not made a miraculous recovery by the time this game comes around...

Our only midweek game in this spell means a trip to South East London and the Valley to face Charlton Athletic. They could be a banana skin for us indeed as they're struggling in the wrong half of the table again, and you know what might happen when an in form team faces a team in reverse? Yup, you got it: the team that's struggling wins. We need to treat them with due respect, not that we wouldn't anyway, and produce a performance that is that of a team that wants to have an immediate return back to the Premier League.

The final game in November is another home match, and again against a name with a historical past. Making the trip north are Ipswich Town and they had such great times when I was younger under the late Bobby Robson who despite being a Geordie, was one of the best managers that England has had at club and national level. In Louie Taylor and Karlan Grant, the Tractor Boys have a strike force that has bagged 14 goals between them at the time of writing so we will need to be on our guard to keep them quiet. Like Villa, they are definitely a fallen giant looking to find their way back into the promised land of the Premier League. However, like all opponents, there's no room for sentiment.

If we can come out of this latest spell and stay where we are at the moment, keeping that gap wide enough so nobody can overtake us then all is good right? Well, that's the objective anyway haha.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

Where's the next update? I've been patiently waiting!
Twitter - @MUFCTarrant
Medium - @JamieTarrant
Where's the next update? I've been patiently waiting!

Just been busy with work mate. Hoping to have something soon....
Thanks though for continuing to follow the story.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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