HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
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End of Season 2025-26 Conclusion


So this how the season actually concluded, first of all the league table before the play-offs began:

https://i.postimg.cc/ydp210Vz/PNEFC-Final-Table2026-No-Play-Offs-Played.png

So it's Derby County who grabbed the other promotion spot on offer behind us. At the end of February, they were 6th and still in danger of actually missing due to the closeness of how things were. But they hit form at the right, others slipped up so James Beattie (in his first full season in charge at Pride Park) celebrated promotion and also as you saw in the previous post: nabbed my Manager of the Year gong strangely enough.

This meant that the semi-finals would be, Leeds United v Middlesbrough and Reading v West Bromwich Albion. Both facing over two legs and the winners at Wembley Stadium on 24 May 2026. It turned out like this, semi-final first legs first:

The first leg of the opening semi final saw this result:

https://i.postimg.cc/vH270X0y/SBCH-POSF1-LReadv-WBA.png

Advantage to the Royals with goals from Eduard Sobol, with a penalty, and Brazillian Pedro Rocha adding to an early strike from Shane Zambra. Former Napoli and Parma winger Francesco Mezzoni had equalised for the Albion but could they pull back the deficit in the Black Country second leg? Meanwhile the night after saw Leeds and Middlesbrough, the latter the meanest defence in the division, play their first leg at Elland Road and this was the outcome:

https://i.postimg.cc/mDTFLFmV/SBCH-POSF1-LLeedsv-Mboro.png

So much for that mean defence, eh? A brace from Oli McBurnie plus two in the space of three minutes from Emmanuel Boateng and Nedim Bajrami has seemingly given Leeds what seems to be a place in the Final already barring 'Boro staging a remarkable resurgence at the Riverside. Former Manchester City youngster Lorenzo Gonzalez, yet another one that they "signed" for the future but didn't make the first team (a solitary Cup appearance in five years), scored what appears to be just consolation. Midweek saw both second legs be played on the same night and they turned out like this:

https://i.postimg.cc/cCHgYGyn/SBCH-POSF2-LLeedsv-Mboro.png

https://i.postimg.cc/SQTz4RC7/SBCH-POSF2-LReadv-WBA.png

So the Final will be between Leeds United and Reading! Pulling back a three goal deficit was always going to be hard for Middlesbrough, even on home turf. A first ever 'Boro goal for Christian Mba reduced the deficit in the early stages of the second half but the Whites had enough about them to shut them out after that and look at regaining their Premier League place via the Play-Off Final. Reading booked their place to face them with the help of a late goal at the Hawthorns though. Mezzoni's early 19th minute strike got the Baggies within one but Pedro Rocha scored also his second goal of the play-offs with eight minutes left to play to restore the two goal advantage and Albion couldn't find any way back after that.

So how did the Final end up? Who would join us and Derby next season in the Premier League, and replace relegated Brighton, Burnley and Sheffield United?

https://i.postimg.cc/5yh4thx1/SBCH-POFReadv-Leeds.png

It's Leeds, and the hero of the day was none other than Oli McBurnie for Graham Potter's side. Maxime Lopez had given the West Yorkshire side the lead just after the half hour but three minutes later Polish attacking midfielder Michal Rakoczy drew the Berkshire side level and that's how it stayed to half time. Five minutes after the restart former Rangers and Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour diverted a low Lopez cross into his own net with his heel to make it 2-1 Leeds. McBurnie then proceeded to add a third Leeds goal on the hour with a low shot that squeaked under the Royals keeper to give his side some breathing space. Yet Reading weren't done as Zambra reduced the arrears in time added-on to set up a tense finale but it's Leeds who will be back playing Premier League football in 2026-27.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
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Manager agrees new deal

https://i.postimg.cc/280sgfPD/new_deal.jpg

1 June 2026

Just as the prospect of playing back in the Premier League was fabulous news for Lilywhites fans, there's even more celebration today!

The latest good news to come out of Deepdale? Manager Mark Duell has penned a new contract that will keep him in East Lancashire until the summer of 2028 after joining us on an initial single season contract from Tranmere Rovers last summer.

Mark, who has won at least one trophy in his managerial career which began at Edinburgh City in 2018, is hard at work lining up new arrivals before jetting out to the United States soon to watch the FIFA World Cup Finals.

The players will return back to pre-season training on Monday 28 June 2026, with the pre-season fixture schedule to be confirmed by the Club in the next couple of days.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
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French giants head pre-season schedule

https://i.postimg.cc/j5KxfNpJ/asmonaco.png

3 June 2026

Preston North End's pre-season schedule for the 2026-27 Premier League has been confirmed.

Heading the five game schedule, with a sixth to be announced, is a prestigious home friendly against eight-time French League champions AS Monaco. Monaco, who last won the Ligue 1 title in 2017, have had many famous names in their 102 year history. These include former England internationalist and manager Glenn Hoddle, legendary French internationalist striker Thierry Henry and former legendary Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. This game will open the pre-season schedule for North End on Saturday 4 July 2026 with a 3:00pm kick-off and French television will be broadcasting the game live.

After the Monaco friendly, the squad head for the sunny climes of Sevilla, Southern Spain for an eleven day training camp which was chosen specifically by manager Mark Duell. Whilst there the team will face La Liga side Real Betis Balompié in their second friendly on Tuesday 14 July 2026. Betis are managed these days by former Arsenal, Rangers and Netherlands internationalist Giovanni Van Bronckhorst. Two days after arriving back in the UK, the team play their third friendly when they make the short trip to Mill Farm, Kirkham to face AFC Fylde. This friendly could see a number of the Lilywhites prospects given game time to impress the manager.

The following Tuesday sees another glamorous friendly here at Deepdale as we host Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. Since being formed as recently as 2009, the German side have enjoyed a meteoric rise and were losing finalists in the 2020 UEFA Europa League Final played in Gdansk as they were defeated 3-0 by fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. The schedule, as it stands, ends three days later with a game in Germany at 2.Bundesliga side MSV Duisburg.

Negotiations are still on going for a final friendly to be played on the Saturday before the new season commences with Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht being touted by some as potential opponents on that day.

The team will find out their Premier League fixture list on Thursday 18 June 2026 at 9:00am
HockeyBhoy
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The Fixtures are OUT!


18 June 2026

The wait is now OVER, as the Premier League schedule for 2026-27 is released. Fans of the 20 clubs can now start planning their away trips which will see them clock thousands of miles up and down the motorways of England.

Last season's champions Manchester United face a long trip to the South Coast to face AFC Bournemouth at the Bournemouth Stadium. The Cherries are now in their 12th season in the top division since winning promotion from the Championship in 2014-15. Red Devils manager Diego Simeone has spent big this summer so far with Italian striker Mario Ricci swapping Juventus for Old Trafford for a £104 million fee. Simeone has also signed Arsenal and England internationalist Eddie Nkeitah for an initial fee of £46 million; raising to £64 million with various add-ons. Liverpool, who pushed them close last season, are also away from home on opening day. The Reds go to one of the newly promoted sides in Leeds United who defeated Reading in a thrilling Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley last month.

Talking about newcomers to the Premier League, there are interesting games for the other two promoted sides who both begin with home games. Runaway Champions Preston North End host West Ham United at Deepdale whilst Derby County entertain Southampton at Pride Park.

For lovers of local derbies, there's the first Manchester derby of the season at Old Trafford on Saturday 12 September, Liverpool host Everton on 26 September 2026, Arsenal entertain Tottenham on 17 October 2026 whilst Leeds go to Old Trafford on Boxing Day for a mouth watering War of the Roses. Tottenham this season will be under the management of Dutch legend Frank de Boer after Unai Emery was dismissed two days after the conclusion of the 2025-26 campaign following just 350 days in charge.

The season begins on Saturday 8 August 2026, are you ready?
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
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Meet the 2026-27 newcomers (Part One)


With a nice transfer budget of over £27 million to spend on new players, we have been shopping around for new players. Granted we can't compete with the likes of Manchester United who have spent £104 million on one player alone, we've bought players that we think will do us a job in the Premier League. The oldest is 29, and we have also invested in young prospects for the future.

In the next couple of posts, we will meet the eight newcomers signed so far...and there's still £17 million available if we want to acquire more. All have been listed in date signed order.

Thomas Eaton (D L/ WB L) - £150,000 from Crystal Palace
https://i.postimg.cc/MZjhJkwT/Thomas-Eaton.png

With Richard Tipple looking to spend a full season on loan we needed some experienced cover for Chilean internationalist Cristiàn Cuevas and Thomas fits that bill perfectly. Predominantly a stay at home full back, Thomas can get forward if needed and showed that in our games against Aston Villa to whom he was on loan to last season from the South East London side. He possesses great pace, and solid marking abilities. A great decision maker on the pitch, I'm convinced he will be pushing Cuevas for the starting berth come 8 August 2026 when the league campaign starts. Bit of a concern is that one of his traits is that he likes to be a wee bit vocal with the officials. Curbing that could be an interesting challenge ahead.

Jasper Schendelaar (GK) - £1.3 million, rising to a possible £1.8 million from AZ Alkmaar
https://i.postimg.cc/QdVQvDLY/Jasper-Schendelaar.png

We knew we needed a new number one for the Premier League season with current starter Alireza Beiranvand not getting any younger, he's 34 in September, and Will Jääskeläinen probably a Championship level keeper at best. So after searching around Europe and almost bringing in a Russian, the name Jasper Schendelaar dropped into our inbox. He's the third choice keeper for the Netherlands behind Rody de Boer and Jesper Zweegers who both ply their trade in the Bundesliga, and we think we have got him on a bargain fee of less than £2 million. Some might think he's a bit injury prone but if we can keep him fit then we could have a starting goalie for seasons to come.

Corrado Pantanelli (M C) - season long loan from Juventus
https://i.postimg.cc/GmY24gvh/Corrado-Pantanelli.png

With Mateus Uribe announcing his retirement from the game in July, and with another central midfielder being released (see a later post) we knew we would be short in this position. Our scouting network, which the board have kindly improved no end to cover anywhere in the world, led us to Pantanelli. He is a very technical player and to have him on loan from Juventus is a massive coup as far as I am concerned. With Kasey Palmer probably a shoe in for one of the two central midfield spots, this guy could easily take the other one. He's not afraid to shoot and I'm sure La Vecchia Signora will be keen to see how he adapts to the game here. He's a gamble but on low wages, it's not a massive risk.

Maurizio Casarini (M C) - £500,000 from Milan
https://i.postimg.cc/FFZn4hqh/Maurizio-Casarini.png

Another young Italian central midfielder who is very technically good and could be one to watch for the future. Signed for the bargain price of half a million from Milan, we might have found ourselves a central midfielder that could break into the Azzurri side if he plays his proverbial cards right. Possesses impressive vision and a good work rate which means he is a playmaker in the making, and at just 20 years old time is definitely on his side. Made nine appearances for the Rossoneri during his time there, scoring twice, after being spotted as hot prospect at just 15. He's already a FIFA Under 20 World Cup winner despite his tender years, having being part of the Italian side that took this honour in 2023.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
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Meet the 2026-27 newcomers (Part Two)


Meet now new signings 5-8 that have arrived in East Lancashire this summer so far.

Julio Pleguezuelo (D C) - £900,000 from Racing Santander
https://i.postimg.cc/mrmStSxk/Julio-Pleguezuelo.png

A former Arsenal trainee whom I had tried to sign, albeit unsuccessfully, when I was at Edinburgh City no less. Guess I finally succeeded at last. Julio is a no nonsense central defender who brings added experience into the back line. With Ethan Ampadu going back to Chelsea, and just Ezri Konsa available to possibly partner skipper Jules Koundé: we needed one or two central defenders to help us. He's packed almost 200 appearances in his career since swapping the famous Barcelona La Masia academy for North London. I'm not really expecting much from him but he's going to be a great option should the other new signing (see next) fail to deliver. Sometimes these lesser signings turn out to be the best ones...

Helmer Andersson (D C) - £3.5 million from AIK
https://i.postimg.cc/pLqjZXs1/Helmer-Andersson.png

A four times capped Swedish internationalist who just loves to...DEFEND! Helmer is the second most expensive purchase we have made so far this summer and I'm looking at him to fill the Ampadu void ahead of anyone else. Helmer does not give strikers peace and quiet as he likes to stick to them like glue which can be a good thing but I hope it doesn't mean that he will give away loads of unnecessary penalties in his own box with his style of defending. He's improved season by season since making his Allsvenskan début for Örebro in 2018 as a 17 year old. At just 24 year old now, Helmer has plenty of time to improve even more and one of his heroes is the current Swedish national team manager: a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic!

Ognjen Stijepovic (M/AM C) - Free Transfer from Pro Vercelli
https://i.postimg.cc/3Ns13rsZ/Ognjen-Stijepovic.png

Our third central midfield signing this summer from the Italian leagues, Ognjen joins his Montengrin national team colleague Nikola Vukcevic here in East Lancashire, so at least he will have a familiar face here to help him settle in and communicate with whilst he learns English at night school in the town. He's another very technically gifted player, just like Nikola, but then again aren't all these East Europeans very technically good anyway? Ognjen has spent the majority of his professional career in Italy, intially with Serie A side Sampdoria but he was far from a first teamer during his time in Genoa. He moved to the side we have signed him from in 2023, and could be the dark horse of a signing which goes under the radar. He could surprise a few...

Kamil Pietras (M C) - £3.6 million from Zaglebie Lubin
https://i.postimg.cc/wv6Tbh3X/Kamil-Pietras.png

The most expensive purchase of the summer we have made so far, and one that was recommended to our youth set up. Kamil is only 19 years old but he's got 15 Under-21 caps for his nation already, which shows what they think of him. The Polish press have dubbed him the new Kazimierz Deyna which is a high accolade indeed considering how gifted the latter was. I'm not really expecting him to burst onto the scene immediately and make an impact, but he should be a class act for our Under 23 side under the managerial tutelage of Dean Keates. His ginger hair makes him easily to notice on the pitch, and I'll be looking to give a few games here and there in Cup games. I just hope he can adapt to life here, where many a foreign talent has failed in the past.

https://i.postimg.cc/wjLqqWm5/departures.jpg

So we bade farewell to five players at the end of their contracts. The biggest name out of the five was Swiss midfielder Remo Freuler (see why we brought in the Italians?) who was really becoming a fourth choice central midfielder behind Uribe, Palmer and Vukcevic. He was also on a large salary of over £40,000 a week which has been a big weight off the wage bill. We also ran the risk of paying Atalanta over £2 million extra if we fielded him in just one more league game. That's money we have invested wisely elsewhere as you can see. Also released like Freuler were James Smith (who has since joined Fleetwood Town), Kirk Choat and Jon Hassan who were in the Under 23's last season as well as Anthony Raby from the Under 18's.

Of the unhappy players, Connor Roberts is interesting Leeds and Southampton (I'd sell him to the Saints if I can get a replacement in), Lazio apparently have an interest in Ronaldo Vieira, Guiilo Maggiore (who turned down a move to Nice after we'd agreed a fee) is on the radar of Sheffield United and Derby County here as well as Salernitana and Frosinone back home in Italy. Veton Berisha interests Granada (no, not the TV channel) and St. Etienne (no, not that band either) whilst nobody is interested in Moise Kean whatsoever.

There's a lot of interest generally around the squad which makes this window important indeed. If we can come out of it again unscathed, I'll be happy. Although this could be interesting...


https://i.postimg.cc/m2hhsNjV/PNETakeover-Maybes.png
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
Premium
So for the next few days, I'm going to leave the story on a cliffhanger. What would you do next after this happened?

https://i.postimg.cc/sg1m09m5/England-Offer.png
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
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England confirm Duell as new national Head Coach

Last Updated: 18/07/2026 12:00pm

https://i.postimg.cc/76m2D7s4/wemberlee.jpg



England have today confirmed the appointment of Mark Duell as their new Head Coach.

The 44 year old, who also manages at Club level with Premier League newcomers Preston North End, was the popular choice of the FA board members after the resignation of Eddie Howe. Howe resigned after the Three Lions dismal performance in the World Cup where they suffered a shock Second Round exit on penalties to joint hosts United States.

Duell's first game will be a home UEFA Nations League Group A3 fixture at Wembley against Croatia on 4 September 2026. The Three Lions then face Turkey in Konya four days later in a friendly encounter.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
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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)
https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/England-Flag.png England: 19 July 2026 - present

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): Manager of Month - 4, Trophies Lifted - 1, Manager of the Year - 0

* - No Manager of the Year awards in the Scottish League One and Two
** - No Manager of the Month awards in Championnat National
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
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2026-27 Squad Numbers


GOALKEEPERS:
1. https://i.postimg.cc/wv5NkyD8/DutchFlag.png Jasper SCHENDELAAR
13. https://i.postimg.cc/C55yNXP3/Finland-Flag.png Will JÄÄSKELÄINEN
18. https://i.postimg.cc/NGbk4Pfx/IranFlag.png Alireza BEIRANVAND

DEFENDERS:
2. https://i.postimg.cc/Px1b5nLc/welshflag.png Connor ROBERTS - Club Vice-Captain
3. https://i.postimg.cc/KcNh5FMs/Chile-Flag.png Cristiàn CUEVAS
4. https://i.postimg.cc/GpWCtgjf/FrenchFlag.png Jules KOUNDÉ - Club Captain
5. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Ezri KONSA
21. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Thomas EATON
22. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Richard TIPPLE - on a season long loan to Wigan Athletic
23. https://i.postimg.cc/bJtBBxq6/Sweden-Flag.png Helmer ANDERSSON
24. https://i.postimg.cc/yYPrtYzz/Spanish-Flag.png Julio PLEGUEZUELO
36. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Stuart CARROLL *
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 *

MIDFIELDERS:
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
14. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Ronaldo VIEIRA
15. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Jack HARRISON
25. https://i.postimg.cc/Bn8WsKwd/Montenegro-Flag.png Ongjen STIJEPOVIC
26. https://i.postimg.cc/pXXB9f3g/Germany-Flag.png Jonas BÄCHLE **
29. https://i.postimg.cc/8CVZ3f8d/Italy-Flag.png Corrado PANTANELLI - on a season long loan from Juventus
30. https://i.postimg.cc/8CVZ3f8d/Italy-Flag.png Maurizio CASARINI
33. https://i.postimg.cc/j5dwSXF5/Polish-Flag.png Kamil PIETRAS
34. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Harrison KIRBY
35. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Jonny HUNT - on a season long loan to Aberdeen

STRIKERS:
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 **
19. https://i.postimg.cc/GpWCtgjf/FrenchFlag.png Vincent MOREL - on a season long loan from AS Monaco
20. https://i.postimg.cc/kX6wgvqF/Norway-Flag.png Veton BERISHA **
27. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Jake COLLIER
28. https://i.postimg.cc/90DvV6PB/dominicaflag.jpg Delroy LEOGAL
31. https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/EnglandFlag.png Andy DERBYSHIRE *

* - Under 21 player so does not count to Premier League 25 man squad
** - not included in Premier League 25 man squad
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
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Meet the 2026-27 newcomers (Part Three)


https://i.postimg.cc/K8H9Wn56/New-Arrivals.jpg


Vincent Morel (S C) - On a season long loan from AS Monaco
https://i.postimg.cc/NGkdth47/Vincent-Morel.png

We made only one further signing before the winter transfer window slammed shut at 5:00pm on 7 August, and that was because the board placed an embargo on transfers in. They did this because of an impending takeover of the Club which will either be good or bad for us. Having experienced this at Tranmere, it proved to be good but will it be the same here at Preston? The ninth new face this summer is French striker Vincent Morel who impressed me in our pre-season friendly against his parent club with his eye for a goal, and general movement. He's only 22 years old so fits my criteria for bringing new but younger talent to the Club. Vincent will provide excellent competition to Moise Kean and Albanian Brian (Brijan Ibrahimi) who led the line for the majority of last season.

https://i.postimg.cc/wjLqqWm5/departures.jpg

We bade farewell for now to four more players, all who departed for pastures new on season long loans. First one to leave was young left back Stuart Carroll who will continue his development at Championship side Barnsley. The day after, Harrison Kirby (who suffered a hip injury days after joining Notts County on loan last January) joined another Championship team: this time in the shape of Millwall. At the start of August, German midfielder Jonas Bächle joined Rapid Vienna and on the day before the deadline Veton Berisha joined Middlesbrough with 'Boro agreeing to pay us £4 million at any point during the loan if they want it to make the deal permanent.

Onto our unhappy players, Ronaldo Vieira has officially handed in a transfer request: still citing relegation in 2024-25 as his reason (what a douche!). That said, Lazio are still looking at him but have yet to come in with an official bid for us to consider. He's valued at £28 million by us and is under contract until the summer of 2028, so they either put up or stop unsettling Ronaldo further. The interest in Connor Roberts has gone away, and I'm hoping I can agree a new deal with him soon as I don't want to lose him for nothing next summer. And still nobody wants to take Moise Kean away....

We did turn down a bid from Everton on deadline day for Charly Musonda which I found derisory, I won't sell my first team players to anyone on the cheap for sure! I'm hoping to do some dealing in the next window however when the boardroom battle will hopefully be resolved one way or the other..
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
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2026-27: Pre-Season Summary


https://i.postimg.cc/rwwhwhm0/PNEFC-202627-PSFSummary.png


We played six matches to prepare ourselves for the new Premier League season ahead of us, and chose quality opposition too. I mean who wants to play non-league sides all the time? Premier League sides play teams that will give them a test, and that's exactly what we are trying to achieve here in the long term.

The first of the matches was against French side AS Monaco and they actually inflicted our only defeat of the schedule to be honest, so we go into the Premier League opener unbeaten in five...not that it means anything (never has done so in my opinion) for the real thing. Goals either side of half time from Vincent Morel (see why I signed him) and Andrija Zivkovic gave Les Monégasques the win although we competed well.

Just the one game whilst on training camp in Seville, and looking back on it I wish I had organised another one now. That came against La Liga side Real Betis, and the new look side showed great resolve to overturn a first half deficit and turn out winners in the end. Things got off to a bad start when Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa, once of Inter Milan, poached them into a ninth minute lead. Yet things started to go sour six minutes later for the Spanish side when David Carmona was dismissed for a clear elbow to the head of Morel right in front of the referee. We had to make this numerical advantage count.

Seven minutes after the restart, we levelled. Charly Musonda whipped in a low cross from the left and it was italian newcomer Corrado Pantanelli arriving on cue to lash the ball home. Two goals in three minutes would secure the win for us and leave Betis ruing Carmona's stupidity. In the 73rd minute, Jack Harrison took advantage of a gap to beat the Betis keeper at his near post and then turned creator with a wonderful through ball that was picked up by Ollie Watkins to place a shot under the keeper for 3-1.

Days after arriving back in the country, we made a short trip to Wesham (it's 11 miles by road) to face AFC Fylde at the Mill Farm complex. We fielded a second string side but it enabled the 2543 away fans to have their first looks at keeper Jasper Schendelaar and defender Helmer Andersson since they had been still been away with their national sides at the World Cup when we faced Betis. All the goals came in the first half as we cruised to the expected win. The opener came after just 40 seconds, Morel with the pull back to Pantanelli to drive a low finish past the rooted keeper. It was 2-0 after seven minutes, Cristiàn Cuevas hammering in a penalty given for a foul on Morel. We added the third in the 27th minute thanks to a nice curling effort from Ongjen Stijepovic from twelve yards. A comfortable win indeed.

Game number four was supposed to be another real test as we took on highly rated German side RB Leipzig at Deepdale. It was an entertaining game with chances a plenty for both sides for the 12000 odd crowd to enjoy. We took the lead in the 19th minute when Scepanovic pushed a Pantanelli header onto the post but then watched Kasey Palmer snaffle away the rebound. In the 39th minute we doubled the lead when Palmer clipped in a free-kick that was headed into the net by Moise Kean. Then in time added-on, Kean was the architect with a through ball that split Leipzig wide open and Morel finished empathically. Timo Werner pulled one back in the 48th minute but we were just too good on the day.

The reserves were back in action for the penultimate friendly, a 1-1 draw with 2.Bundesliga side MSV Duisburg. We should have been behind after 28 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Ezri Konsa on Ahmet Engin which was only just inside the penalty area. However Lukas Nmecha's effort was weak and straight at Alireza Beiranvand. They took the lead eventually in the 64th minute when a swift counter attack ended with Michael Fürthaler scoring with a low finish into the corner. However, we were only behind for just five minutes when young striker Andy Derbyshire hooked in a well taken equaliser. Honours remained equal after that.

We concluded our preparations with a goalless draw at home against 39 time Belgian League winners RSC Anderlecht. It was a game which we controlled from start to finish, limiting our more well known opponents to just four shots in ninety minutes, However, we couldn't make any of our chances count and now move forwards to the new season beginning in the second weekend of August.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
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2026-27: August Preview


https://i.postimg.cc/jjS5XqY5/PNEFC-Aug2026-Fixtures.png


Here we have it, the preview for the first month of action. Less league games to play, 38 this time as opposed to 46 over the last three seasons, but each one of them a big test and for me a real marker on how I have developed as a manager. It's my ninth season in the game at my fifth club side and I think I've steadily improved each time.

So who do we face in August?

We begin our Premier League campaign at home to West Ham United. Managed these days by Scot Alex Neil, who was coaxed to the London Stadium from Celtic, they have a very cosmopolitan squad but then again who doesn't these days? The Hammers finished 9th in the Premier League last season, and are expected to have another mid-table finish this season too. They will present a good test for us for what this season is going to be like all season.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 10th
Player to watch: Simon Matthews; capped seven times by Scotland - the left wing back/winger scored 12 times last season and has improved every season since signing from Ayr United in the summer of 2020 for a bargain fee of £575,000.

After the West Ham game, which is ironically going to be live on TV, we travel down to South East London for our second league game of the season. It's a trip to Selhurst Park to face the Eagles of Crystal Palace who escaped relegation to the Championship purely on goal difference at the expense of their fierce rivals Brighton so no A23 derby this year. They're managed by Steven Gerrard who won 2 Betfred Cups with Rangers, before he left for Wolves. Could we heap a bit of misery on him?

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 16th
Player to watch: Scott McKenna; came through the ranks at Aberdeen and really started to establish himself there before heading to England to Middlesbrough in July 2019. After three seasons at the Riverside, this experienced Scotland internationalist moved to Palace where he's been a mainstay in their defence. He's a barrier we will need to get past to win.

We have our first Monday night game for game three which means a second appearance on TV already. Making the lengthy trip North for this are Southampton, a team who seem to have settled back into life in the Premier League after a single season back in the Championship for 2020-21. The Saints are managed by Argentine goalscoring legend Hernan Crespo, but will his abilities be enough to keep the Saints afloat? They only just managed it last season...

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 9th
Player to watch: Craig Laycock; a central defender that will interest me especially in my role as England Head Coach. He started his career at Lincoln City, had spells on loan at Rochdale and Crystal Palace, before establishing himself in the Saints defence. At 22, he has a promising career in front of him for sure.

Our fourth league game out of five in this opening month sees us go to the Black Country to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux. Wolves actually were one of the few sides that actually got the better of us last season with a 2-0 Carabao Cup win at Deepdale. Spanish legend Xavi is their manager and he will be looking to improve on their 13th position last season for sure. He's certainly got a bit of a job on if he wants to make them the new Barcelona.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 12th
Player to watch: Alban Lafont; France's number one was signed by Wolves for a whopping £32 million from Fiorentina last summer after spending seven seasons with the Viola. He's a top class goalie that won the Nations League in 2023, and a Serie A title before departing for Wolves.

We don't know whom we will face in Round Two of the Carabao Cup, but I'm hoping the fates will be kind to us and give us a winnable tie. That said, we finish August with probably the toughest test of the five games scheduled...it's a home game (which is great) but against Manchester United! The Red Devils have won the last five Premier League titles and look as strong as ever with Diego Simeone in the hot seat these days. This is the ultimate benchmark of standards.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 1st
Player to watch: Leon Bailey; but it could be anyone as the first eleven are all internationalists in their own right. Bailey has certainly come a long way since being signed by Slovakian side Trencin in 2013, and he's not even 30 yet! A winger with blistering pace, our right back will have a job on to keep him subdued...
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
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2026-27: Seasonal Expectations


https://i.postimg.cc/bwmG4VP3/PNEFC_202627SeasonExpectations.png


So what does Ira Gordon, Preston's current chairman, expect from me this season?

League: Avoid a relegation battle
Yeah, this seems to be rather reasonable to ask for. The pundits have us down for a 17th placed finish which if proven correct would mean we would retain our Premier League status for 2027-28. The squad we have, I feel, is more than good enough to hold their own in the Premier League as players such as Moise Kean, Jack Harrison and Jasper Schnendelaar are all good enough to play for anyone in the top division for sure. If we can garner at least seven home wins from 19 at home and get points away from places such as Crystal Palace then we will be OK. 34 points was enough to stay up last season, I'm looking at least 40 to secure it myself.

Last thing I need is a final day decider with us needing to get a result to stay up.

Emirates FA Cup: Reach the Fifth Round
As a Premier League club, you are expected to progress in the FA Cup but we all know that it's not as easy as that. There's always the distinct possibility that you can be drawn against a fellow Premier League side in the Third Round which makes this objective harder if that does happen. Give us a couple of favourable draws and then we can tick this one off as a success. No pressure, right?

Carabao Cup: Reach the Fourth Round
Like the more prestigious FA Cup, there is an expectation to progress. However, we will be probably taking both Cups seriously due to the squad depth we have or lack of it at the moment. We're gonna need, again like the FA Cup, a couple of favourable draws to tick this one as mission accomplished. Anything further, that is quarter-finals onwards, is going to be a bonus.

Now let's get started...
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
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864
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2026-27: Mid-August Summary


As usual, since the opening month has a few games in it, we have summarised it in a couple of parts. This is how we fared.

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MATCHDAY 1 - Sunday 9 August 2026
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https://i.postimg.cc/J4tM1jy4/PNEFC_202627_Game1.png

Twice we had to come back to salvage a point on the opening day in front of a sell-out Deepdale. The Hammers took the lead in the 18th minute when Simon Matthews fooled Connor Roberts and beat Jasper Schendelaar at his near post. Yet we levelled three before the interval thanks to a thumping long range free-kick beautifully executed by Kasey Palmer. They regained the lead in the 71st minute when Matthews crossed for Julien Ngoy to head in from close range/ But we got our reward for a battling display when substitute Moise Kean produced his own bit of magic to make it 2-2 in injury time with a superb rising drive into the roof of net leaving the Hammers keeper helpless.

MATCHDAY 2 - Wednesday 12 August 2026
https://i.postimg.cc/YqNZB9Rq/PNEFC-202627-Game2.png

A stirring second performance gave us our first win of the season at Selhurst Park and leave Steven Gerrard seething. Palace took the lead when Ged Turnbull headed in and that was how it stayed until half time. A few encouraging words to the Lads followed and the response was perfect. Charly Musonda equalised in the 69th minute with a low drive from the edge of the area that skidded off the wet turf and into the corner. With eight minutes left, Jack Harrison volleyed home from twelve yards to give us the lead which caused Palace to go for broke. Eagles' left-back Matt Targett looked to have stopped a breakaway for us injury time with a last ditch tackle but the ball found its way to Vincent Morel who lashed the ball into the net and seal the points.

MATCHDAY 3 - Monday 17 August 2026
LIVE ON https://i.postimg.cc/bYgZS1VW/sm-skysportsmainevent.gif
https://i.postimg.cc/g07BH6z4/PNEFC-202627-Game3.png

Unfortunately we couldn't build on the midweek win at Selhurst and slipped to a loss against Southampton despite having the better of the play. It was a case we didn't take our chances to be honest. Saints winner came from the head of Portuguese striker José Portela, the third time we had conceded a goal from this fashion. Perhaps the right back spot is need of an upgrade... The positive? Well we had a second home sold out crowd which might be a pleasing sight for the prospective new owners...whoever they are!

League Table;

https://i.postimg.cc/44WHLbkJ/PL-Mid-Aug2026-Table.png

Middle of the table after three games which is not a bad start to be honest. City are scoring goals for fun at the top with new French striker Andrew Balstrue already with nine goals. Plenty of games to go but if we can stay out of that drop zone then we'll be alright.

https://i.postimg.cc/KcDDZg6V/Carabao-Cup2nd-Logo.png https://i.postimg.cc/RFzwmMX4/PNEFC-CC2-Draw202627.png

That's a Second Round tie that we can fancy our chances in, it also goes a long way to achieving the objective we have set ourselves for this competition. Might give some players the night off, and use the squad we have at our disposal. Unlike teams such as Manchester City etc. we won't be changing the whole eleven; just a few minor tweaks to the line up here and there.

Oh, and there's been no takeover of the Club yet. Guess we will have to wait and see what happens with this.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
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Duell's first England squad announced, three players get first ever call-ups.

Last Updated: 26/08/2026 12:00pm

https://i.postimg.cc/76m2D7s4/wemberlee.jpg


England Head Coach Mark Duell has announced a few surprises in his first ever England squad announcement. There are first time call ups for three players in the shape of Southampton's Ethan Laird, Olympiacos goalkeeper Dean Henderson and Preston North End winger Jack Harrison.

Duell had this to say:

"It's always a hard task for a manager to pick any squad, and an international one is even harder. All the players chosen have been picked on the basis that I think these men are the best ones around to don the Three Lions jersey.

I have given three players their maiden international call ups, and each of one of them deserves it. I have no qualms that this is a very capable squad and look forward to seeing how they handle the international pressures."

The squad is as follows:

GOALKEEPERS:
Jordan Pickford (Everton, 61 caps/0 goals)
Angus Gunn (Southampton, 11 caps/0 goals)
Dean Henderson (Olympiacos, 0 caps/0 goals)

DEFENDERS:
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, 91 caps/6 goals)
Ethan Laird (Southampton, 0 caps/0 goals)
Ben Chilwell (Arsenal, 66 caps/3 goals)
Luke Shaw (Newcastle United, 41 caps/1 goal)
Harry Maguire (Leicester City, 24 caps/2 goals)
Craig Laycock (Southampton, 3 caps/0 goals)
Rob Holding (Arsenal, 40 caps/0 goals)
Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur, 127 caps/14 goals)

MIDFIELDERS:
Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford, 3 caps/0 goals)
Ricky Armstrong (Tottenham Hotspur, 55 caps/2 goals)
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton, 9 caps/0 goals)
Phil Foden (RB Leipzig, 20 caps/1 goal)
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, 120 caps/18 goals)
Steveroy Byers (AFC Bournemouth, 23 caps/6 goals)
Jadon Sancho (Chelsea, 52 caps/11 goals)
Jack Harrison (Preston North End, 0 caps/0 goals)

FORWARDS:
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur (134 caps/90 goals)
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United, 128 caps/56 caps)
Eddie Nketiah (Manchester United, 21 caps/7 goals)
Dominic Solanke (Borussia Mönchengladbah, 2 caps/0 goals)
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
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864
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2026-27: End of August Summary


Two more games played to conclude the opening month, how would these turn out.

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MATCHDAY 4 - Saturday 22 August 2026
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After coming unstuck against Southampton, we changed our formation for the trip to Molineux. It was an entertaining game as we defended like our lives depended on it whilst trying to prise open the home side. Midway through the first half, they broke our resistance when Jack Grealish's corner was headed in by Ethan Ampadu. The very same defender we had on loan and were quoted over £40 million to sign him in the summer from Chelsea; he signed for Wolves for less than £8 million! Double standards there Mr Abramovich, trying to price out the lesser club so they go into financial difficulties but sell to a more established one. Well two can play at that game in the future, mark my words now!

The advantage was doubled in the early stages of the second half when Grealish went down in the area (some say quite easily) and Moussa Sylla emphatically converted the spot kick. Yet we pulled one back in the 69th minute when some patient play saw Moise Kean tee up Ongjen Stijepovic and the midfielder smashed it in for his first North End goal despite Alban Lafont getting a hand to it. Alas the French stopped denied us time and time again after that and we slipped to a second successive Premier League loss.

MATCHDAY 5 - Saturday 29 August 2026
LIVE ON https://i.postimg.cc/m2M2NMmT/btsport2.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/VstWJNjC/PNEFC-202627-Game5.png

Quite simply the best result achieved in this career so far, and I'm not joking. Manchester United, winners of the Premier League for the last five seasons, rolled into a sold out Deepdale (again) and the pundits were all saying one thing: away win and convincingly so! Well for them and United, we didn't read the same script. After just eight minutes we went in front as Jack Harrison marked his England call up with a pass into Pantanelli and the Italian kid from Novara blasted the ball into the roof of the net with David De Gea rooted to the spot. Yet six minutes later United were level thanks to a low drive from Paul Pogba that simply fizzed into our net.

The game ebbed and flowed as both teams put on a real spectacle in the first half. Four minutes from half time, we regained the lead when a free-kick from Cristiàn Cuevas evaded everyone but an unmarked Nikola Vukcevic who accepted the freedom given to him by the United defence to sweep the ball past De Gea. United roared back and were level again in first half injury time, Diogo Dalot's cross and a header from Marcus Rashford past Jasper Schendelaar. Yet Rashford was subbed at half time by Diego Simeone. The action continued unabated in the second half and with seven minutes left, substitute Ollie Watkins' hopeful shot clipped the shoulder of United centre half Maximillian Wöber and into the net. Deepdale went absolutely nuts!

Could we hold on? Yes we could as despite United, with all their stars, throwing everything bar the proverbial kitchen sink at us failed to breach us for a third time. Deepdale went crazy, I'd never experienced anything like it. Simeone shook my hand at the end but you could tell that this result really hurt him but for me: I felt like I had won the lottery!

So this is how the Premier League stands at the end of August:

https://i.postimg.cc/QCZ5QppW/PL-End-Aug2026-Table.png

If you had said to me that we would be 9th after the opening month; then I would have probably laughed in your face and told you to stop being silly. But that's where we are, and we're there on merit. That said, there's just one point between us and 17th although the goal difference is better for us. We just have to keep eking out the points and we're going to be OK. Surprised to see Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea below us though. Can't see that still being the case come May 2027...

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SECOND ROUND - Wednesday 26 August 2026
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Before the game, Colchester's manager was trying a bit of mind games with me saying that there was nothing between the two sides. We made seven changes from the side that lost at Wolves and reverted back to 4-1-4-1. We took the lead just after the half hour when a right wing cross from Vincent Morel was headed in off the bar by on loan Juventus midfielder Corrado Pantanelli: his first for the club. Yet we went in level at half time when Martin Williams equalised for the U's in the 43rd minute.

I could hear Campbell (Colchester's boss) saying they had us rattled as I started to deliver my half time team talk so I urged the team to shut him up. We got the response we wanted. Three minutes after the restart, Watkins netted with a low shot from just inside the area then seven minutes after that we were 3-1 ahead thanks to some trickery by Morel (who deserved a goal) and saw U's defender Jones turn the ball into his own net. We completed the scoring in the 68th minute when Connor Roberts thumped home a header from a corner by Cuevas. A job done well, but Campbell was still telling the press there was nothing between the sides post game. What a terrible loser, he's certainly not on any Xmas card lists for sure if he wants to act like that.

The third round draw brought us this:

https://i.postimg.cc/3RzRmYQS/PNEFC-CC3-Draw202627.png


Not the easiest draw possible, and it's against a fellow Premier League side too which was always on the cards. However, if we play as good as we did in the second half at Selhurst then there's no reason whatsoever why we can't send them tumbling out and make the Fourth Round stage. One thing for certain, there won't be as many wholesale changes for this tie..maybe two or three at a push!
Shedender
14 years ago
1 day ago
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It's great to see this career is still progressing along bud. You're doing a superb job w/ Preston. KIU.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
Premium
It's great to see this career is still progressing along bud. You're doing a superb job w/ Preston. KIU.

Thanks mate, am still enjoying the save so there should be plenty of life left in this story for the time being.
HockeyBhoy
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864
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August 2026 Award Winners


A look now to see who won what in the monthly awards.

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/K8SXfMCD/PL-MOTM-Aug2026.png
When you win every single league game that month then you're going to be well in contention. Guess this is standard I hope I can achieve in seasons to come.

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/SKkBFpSX/PL-POTMand-YPOTM-Aug2026.png
A great start to his City career for their new French striker whom they splashed an astonishing £96 million on. He even captured the Young Player of the Month award too so it's fair to admit, well played lad.

Goal of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/6QcDB1qM/PL-GOTM-Aug2026.png
And the winner of the Goal of the Month is none than our very own Kasey Palmer for that superb free kick against the Hammers. I always believed it had a chance but it's even sweeter for Kasey and the Club that it was recognised. A special goal indeed, hope it's not the last..
HockeyBhoy
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Winning starts for new Head Coach

Last Updated: 09/09/2026 12:00pm

https://i.postimg.cc/wv6Fj6ZN/Rashford-Winnerv-Croatia.png


After the disappointment of the World Cup in the summer, new England Head Coach Mark Duell was wanting to put a smile back on the faces of Three Lions supporters as his reign began with games against Croatia and Turkey. That smile is definitely there as England showed great character to come from behind in the UEFA Nations League group game against the Croatians and two second half goals put pay to Turkey in our friendly played at Konya.

A sold out Wembley greeted Duell on Friday night as the new Head Coach oversaw his first ever game in charge. He surprised a few by handing a début to a face he knows well, Preston North End inside forward Jack Harrison. Whilst Harrison did pretty well on his first start for his country without blowing the visitors apart; it was the visitors themselves who made the perfect start and by half time were 2-0 ahead thanks to goals from Liverpool's Mateo Kovacic who scored with a thumping drive after just six minutes that gave Angus Gunn no chance whatsoever, and Marin Jakolis who netted the rebound from close range after heading against the crossbar on 31 minutes. Wembley was stunned as much as anything.

Could the new man at the helm change the fortunes at half time or would we go down to a loss to a very impressive visiting nation? Well whatever Duell said in those 15 minutes he had with the team, it certainly should be bottled and sold as the Three Lions turned the UEFA Nations League encounter on its head with a much improved second half showing that had the Croatians rocked. Just before the hour we were awarded a penalty when Marcus Rashford was tripped in the area by Tin Jedvaj as the Manchester United man charged through, Harry Kane stepped up and drilled home his 91st goal for the Three Lions with a perfect penalty in the bottom corner. He never looked like missing.

Given fresh hope, England poured forward but the visitors were still looking dangerous in possession and with chances of their own: Gunn being called on a few occasions to deny them a third. With 16 minutes to go, Wembley erupted as England equalised. Rashford latched onto a defensive header out by Filip Benkovic, surged into the area, and crashed a shot against the post. The ball looked like it might crossed the line but Jedvaj thought he would make sure it didn't. However for the luckless full back, he miscued his clearance into his own net to make it 2-2. The Three Lions really started to believe again, and so they did to complete an amazing turn around five minutes later when skipper Trent Alexander-Arnold crossed from the right and Rashford gleefully tucked it away at the far post.

The Three Lions then withstood some concerted Croatian pressure after that and the UEFA Nations League campaign got off to a winning start.

We lined up as follows:
Gunn; Alexander-Arnold ©, Holding, Laycock, Chilwell; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse; Harrison, Delé, Rashford; Kane. Substitutes: Sancho (for Harrison 54), Foden (for Delé 67), Dier (for Armstrong 78)

Four days later, the Three Lions travelled to Turkey and were successful in a nice 2-0 away friendly win. The goals came in a four minute spell either side of the hour, and both were scored by Tottenham Hotspur players. Despite having to soak up loads of possession from the host nation, the Three Lions were always the most creative force throughout and a clean sheet will definitely please the new man in charge.

That opening goal came in the 57th minute when a corner taken by Rashford was met with a bullet header from defensive midfielder Ricky Armstrong. It was Ricky's third international goal on his 57th appearance. The second and decisive goal came four minutes later, AFC Bournemouth's Steveroy Byers was baulked in the area, and like his club mate four nights before, Delé coolly slotted away the perfect spot kick right into the bottom corner.

For this game, we had this line up:
Gunn; Alexander-Arnold ©, Laycock, Maguire, Shaw; Dier; Armstrong, Delé; Byers, Rashford; Kane. Substitutes: Laird (for Alexander-Arnold HT), Chilwell (for Shaw HT), Holding (for Maguire 70), Solanke (for Kane 70), Chalobah (for Delé 80), Sancho (for Byers 80)

Congratulations to both Ethan Laird and Jack Harrison on winning their first caps in these two games.

The Three Lions will be back in action again on Friday 9 October 2026 when we travel to the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam to face the Netherlands in our second UEFA Nations League group game. Then three days later we're off to the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb to play Croatia in another UEFA Nations League fixture.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
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2026-27: September Preview


https://i.postimg.cc/pTfSTGs9/PNEFC-Sep2026-Fixtures.png


A short month this time out after the international break where we saw our very own Jack Harrison make his international bow for England.

We resume our league campaign a trip west to Anfield to face Liverpool. The team go into this game with a bit of confidence about them having remarkably beaten Manchester United in our last league game. Can we dethrone a second giant of the game? The Reds, under the tutelage of Christian Streitch, still have two of the famous triumvirate in the shape of Firmino and Salah but even those two have been eclipsed by newer blood coming through. They pushed United to the title last season, but lost their opening game this season heavily: a 4-0 defeat at newly promoted Leeds United.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 3rd
Player to watch: Edouard Venegas; the Mexican attacking midfielder has certainly helped fill the void created by the now-retired Sadio Mané. He's chipped in with 31 goals from 108 games since signing from Pachuca just before the start of the 2024-25 season, and usually plays in the hole behind the front man. He's going to be one that we're going to have to subdue if we want to come away with at least a point.

Eight days later, we have another big name to deal with. Visiting Deepdale are North London giants Arsenal and like Liverpool, they have not made the best start to the season so far. Former Sweden internationalist Mats Gren has been in charge since December 2024 but has yet to deliver any silverware. Gren came close in the 2025 UEFA Europa League Final but his side eventually lost 5-3 after extra time to Marseille. Despite losing England internationalists Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nkeitah in the summer to Liverpool and Manchester United, the Gunners seem to be content with him.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 6th
Player to watch: Wladimir; a young 21 year old Brazilian striker who is starting to make waves in North London. The youngster doubled his goal output last season and is now ahead of strikers such as Gabriel Jesus for the Seleção. He certainly has an eye for a goal, and if he continues in the form that he is at present then our defenders may have a tough afternoon ahead.

There's a midweek game sandwiching the afore mentioned Arsenal game and the final game of the month. That game is the Third Round tie at Craven Cottage when we bid for a place in the last sixteen against fellow Premier League side Fulham. How many changes will Mark make for this game? Victory in this game will ensure Mark has met his objective for this particular competition. However, Mark being Mark, will want to go further if at all possible.

We finish the month with an away trip to North-East and to St James Park to be hosted by Newcastle United. The Magpies are these days managed by much travelled German Roger Schmidt, who succeeded Chris Hughton after the latter's second spell ended with the sack after just 327 days at the end of 2023-24 season. The good thing is that Mike Ashley is no longer around after he sold the club midway through October 2019. Bar winning the Championship at the first attempt in 2021-22, the Toon Army still wait for continued success.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 13th
Player to watch: Federico De Zan; a lot is expected from the Argentinian striker and not because he wears the iconic number 9 jersey which has been worn by such legends such as Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald, Andrew Cole, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer for example. Besides this, he's also the newly appointed team captain and principal goal threat. So there's a great deal on the 23 year old's shoulders, but with an astonishing 48 goals in just 92 games so far...he isn't doing too bad! Can he skipper the Toon Army to glory?
TheTarrantino
14 years ago
1 day ago
388
Premium
Still following this buddy.

I hope now that Football Manager 2021 is out that you do still come back and play this every now and again. It's the only one I've followed for the whole of the FM20 installment!
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
Premium
Still following this buddy.

I hope now that Football Manager 2021 is out that you do still come back and play this every now and again. It's the only one I've followed for the whole of the FM20 installment!


Cheers Jamie mate, saw that picture of you playing FM21 on the train to work via Twitter.

Actually going to continue with this for while. Haven't got the new game yet, might do so when I have a bit more spare HD space on the laptop.
siepod
6 years ago
18 hours ago
94
Premium
Sensational updates as always.....! 2 wins and 2 loses for September I think! Good luck!
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
Premium
Sensational updates as always.....! 2 wins and 2 loses for September I think! Good luck!

Thank you for your comments as usual Sie, I am always thinking on how to freshen up the story from time to time hence the small graphical adjustments. We shall see if your prediction rings true..

Best of luck with your latest story too.
.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
Premium
https://i.postimg.cc/W4rQqPV8/Preston-North-End-Logo.png

2026-27: End of September Summary


Three games played in a truncated month because of an international week. How did we fare?

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MATCHDAY 6 - Saturday 12 September 2026
LIVE ON https://i.postimg.cc/m2M2NMmT/btsport2.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/4xw7SJW2/PNEFC-202627-Game6.png

After the international break we headed to Anfield to face a Liverpool side that hadn't made a great start to the new season although they were picking up. I named the same side that beat Manchester United in the previous league game bar the keeper, Alireza Beiranvand replacing the injured Jasper Schendelaar. Predictably the Reds battered us with chance after chance, they racked up 33 shots in those 90 minutes, although we had almost the same amount possession. That was the pleasing part as well as that it took them 25 minutes to open the scoring when Firmino's header was brilliantly pushed onto the bar by the big Iranian keeper but the rebound landed at the feet of Romelu Lukaku who tucked it away.

Lukaku added a second a minute before half time, this time with a header into the far corner from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross to the back post. We did have a couple of chances but couldn't make neither count which might have made things more interesting. They wrapped the points up with a third four minutes from the end, Thomas Lemar's cross and Fernando Almeida with the header into the bottom corner.

MATCHDAY 7 - Saturday 20 September 2026
https://i.postimg.cc/9fMR3vSm/PNEFC-202627-Game7.png

We entertained Arsenal on a Sunday afternoon and once more Deepdale was sold out for yet another home game. Both teams turned in a spectacle full of chances, 50 in total, which the TV cameras would have loved if they had come to screen it. The 4-2-3-1 formation was given another chance to impress but in the end we drew another blank in terms of points and goals. However, one huge positive was that we lasted this time until 57 minutes before our defensive line was breached. Yet we should have been leading after the officials controversially ruled Charly Musonda offside as he netted in the 37th minute from a beautifully weighted from through ball Jack Harrison.

That first goal for the Gunners came when Murigen played in Smith-Rowe and his shot thundered into the corner, leaving Beiranvand with no chance whatsoever. He had no chance as well with the clincher which arrived a minute from time when Slater collected a long goal kick, advanced forward before placing a wonderful effort into the same bottom corner which the first goal went into.

MATCHDAY 8 - Saturday 26 September 2026
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No many people gave us much of a chance when we made the trip to SJP to face a Newcastle side that had won their last four games. The home support barracked me from the first whistle to the last, they obviously knew the manager in opposition was a diehard Sunderland supporter. Nothing like a bit of rivalry eh? We persisted with the same formation that we had used for the first time in midweek to see if we could arrest our slide of results in the league, and to be honest it started terribly as we conceded in just seven minutes when Franks' corner was headed in at the near post by Ochoa. A very sloppy goal from our part to let in.

But we dug in and started to pose a few problems of the Magpies and deservedly levelled in the 32nd minute when they came unstuck themselves at a corner kick routine, skipper Jules Koundé heading in from six yards. The captain was magnificent all game, and fully merited his Man of the Match award. However, we finished a second successive game with ten men (bus syndrome: that is you wait ages for one then two come at once) as our other Italian Maurizio Casarini was dismissed for a lunge on Franks in the 80th minute which looked harsh but referee David Coote produced a straight red. We've subsequently appealed by the way (decision pending), and not because Maurizio had only been on the pitch just the small matter of four minutes.

Yet again the team worked their collective socks off to ensure we would leave with a point although Vincent Morel could have, and should have, won it for us when he shot straight at the keeper when put clean through. The game also saw the début of 19 year old Peter Brown in the left wing back role due to the suspension of Cuevas and the fact his immediate replacement Thomas Eaton was still on the injury list.

So this is how the Premier League stands at the end of August:

https://i.postimg.cc/6pxS8ccN/PL-End-Sep2026-Table.png

That was a tough month especially considering we had to play both Liverpool and Arsenal, so I half expected that we would slide down the table. Finding a tactic for a team that is an underdog like us in the top flight is the biggest challenge but the last result has given us confidence that we can avoid the drop. Hopefully October's fixture list will be a bit more kinder and we can start to pick up some points and head towards much calmer waters.

Oh, and the takeover saga is still ongoing...

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THIRD ROUND - Wednesday 23 September 2026
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Our reward for disposing of Colchester in Round Two saw us head to SW6 to face Fulham at a less than half full Craven Cottage; perhaps the fans had thought both sides would be putting out reserves. Not us as we don't have the strength in depth to do so. Anyway after the two league losses against the giants of Liverpool and Arsenal, we changed our formation to a back three of Koundé, Ezri Konsa and Julio Pleguezuelo with wing back roles for Connor Roberts and Cristiàn Cuevas. Corrado Pantanelli and Nikola Vukcevic anchored central midfield with Harrison and Ollie Watkins provided the attacking thrust that the wing backs supplemented; Brijan Ibrahimi (aka Albanian Brian) led the line as the sole striker.

The game was only four minutes old when we opened the scoring, Ibrahimi glancing in a header for his first of the season following from a quality delivery from Roberts. However Fulham were only behind for just four minutes when Bernardo headed in a Nahuel Leiva corner from six yards out. 90 seconds after this, we found ourselves behind when Harvey Johnson's shot from just inside the area clipped the heel of Pleguezuelo to wrongfoot Beiranvand and nestle in the corner. The goals didn't end there as we would go into the interval locked at 2-2 because of a 37th minute equaliser from Pantanelli; his third of the season. The on loan Juventus man heading in off the post after another superb cross from Roberts. The header crossed the line before it also hit the Cottagers keeper on the back of the head before sitting in the net.

We were up against it three minutes after the restart when Cuevas was shown a straight red (the first sending off at Preston under my tutelage) for a late lunge on Bernardo. It has to be said, referee Anthony Taylor got that decision spot on even though it left us one man short and cause a reshuffle of our plans. We held out until five minutes from time when they got the winner to break our hearts. Another Leiva corner, this time headed in by Martinez Quarta, This caused us to go for broke but we couldn't get level again, and one Cup campaign ends here.

That said the fourth round draw would have seen us take on Ipswich Town at Deepdale, now that would have been a winnable game indeed!
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
Premium
https://i.postimg.cc/W4rQqPV8/Preston-North-End-Logo.png

2026-27: October Preview


https://i.postimg.cc/XYj9K9mt/PNEFC-Oct2026-Fixtures.png


Four more league games in October, and hopefully we can pick up some points to propel us towards mid-table security. That said, anyone can beat anyone on a given day.

We start October with a home game against Leeds United. The Whites came up with us last season, via the play offs mind, and have had a very good start in their top flight return. They lie 5th and that's on the back of results such as a 4-0 hammering of Liverpool as well as a 3-2 win at the Emirates thanks to a late, late winner. We know how they play but they have splashed the cash in the summer, forking out £57 million on ten new faces: something we can only but wish for at the moment. Winning this one could be huge.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 16th
Player to Watch: Lucas Romero; the experienced Argentine was recruited from recently relegated Burnley for an initial £27 million in the summer. That will rise to £34 million with add-ons. Alongside Frenchman Maxime Lopez, he pulls the strings for the West Yorkshire side in central midfield. If we can keep him quiet indeed then we might have a chance of taking all three points.

After another international break, we're back in league action with a long trip to the South Coast to face AFC Bournemouth. The Cherries have been a stable member of the Premier League since reaching it in 2015. Dean Court is no more, as the team now play in the new Bournemouth Stadium which has not been sold for naming rights to anyone. Under Paul Lambert, they will be hoping to consolidate and break into a European spot this season.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 8th
Player to Watch: Steveroy Byers; a name that I am used to as he is in my England squad and is battling with Jadon Sancho and our own Jack Harrison for the right wing position. Came through the ranks at Sunderland but didn't make a league appearance for the Black Cats before joining local rivals Middlesbrough under freedom of contract. The Cherries paid a whopping £42.5 million for him in the summer of 2024, and he could really put our new formation to the test.

After AFC Bournemouth, we're back on home turf for the third league game of the month. Our visitors are our Carabao Cup conquerors, Fulham so we will have a good idea on what to expect from the Cottagers. Their manager is a familiar face to me too, Chris Higgins. Chris, a Scot, was the guy I appointed as Director of Football after Jim Jefferies had left for Northampton Town. Chris took charge at the Citizens on a temporary basis after I left for Finland, a role he fulfilled twice. He's since become a highly rated manager in his own right following a spell at Kilmarnock before joining Fulham in January 2016.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 15th
Player to Watch: Martino Derlu; an Italian attacking midfielder that came from semi-professional football in the USA on a free transfer way back in 2019. He started to really establish himself as a permanent fixture in the Fulham side in the 2021-22 season but had a real breakout season two seasons later when he scored an astonishing 21 goals in all competitions. As well as playing behind the sole striker, he can be adapted to play as the front man as well. We will have to silence him.

We finish October with a game on the manager's birthday, and a trip across to Pride Park to face Derby County. Like Leeds, Derby came up with us and also spent a fair bit of cash on new players. However, that's where the similarities end as the Rams find themselves in the bottom three as we start October. Perhaps, like us, they're finding it hard to adjust but then again they have not been in the top division since being relegated at the end of the 2007-08 season with an unwanted record of just 11 points in their 38 games. This is the type of match most will expect us to win.

Opponent Expected Finishing Position: 20th
Player to Watch: Scott Hirons; the 22 year old club captain burst onto the scene in the 2022-23 season as a 17 year old sensation: scoring 12 goals in 33 games. He has continued to find the net regularly since then but has not had the main striker's role this season, losing his place up front to new signing Jᴓren Klein from Rosenborg BK. Hirons is still capable of doing damage to anyone given the chance to do so, we just have to be very wary indeed.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
Premium
https://i.postimg.cc/j2Z9wnxY/PL-Logo3.png

September 2026 Award Winners


A look now to see who won what in the monthly awards.

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/HkkMCCwV/PL-MOTM-Sep2026.png
The former Barnsley and Hamilton Academical midfielder has come a long way in management since taking his initial steps at New Douglas Park in 2013. Spells include time at Preston, Leeds and Wolves as well as a year at Parkhead. He was the only manager to win every game in September; nice achievement.

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/26hbxjDX/PL-POTM-Sep2026.png
And there's a second award going it's way to the London Stadium as attacking midfielder Martin Murray caps a great month for himself by taking the Player of the Month gong. If he continues to impress then he could get a call up for the national team, I'll be watching with very keen interest indeed.

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/1XSg7xRR/PL-YPOTM-Sep2026.png
The winner of this is Arsenal's impressive Brazilian youngster Wladimir, who was in third place for the Player of the Month award. Whilst he did not find the net against us, his movement was something else. Team-mates José Andrés Razo and Flamel helped complete a clean sweep in this category by scooping second and third place respectively.

Goal of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/1th44xq0/PL-GOTM-Sep2026.png
The winner for this month is another promising English talent, Alistair Skewes of Arsenal for a delightful free-kick against the league leaders. I tried to once acquire him on loan whilst at Tranmere but the Gooners wouldn't let him go. Can start to see why they said that now. Another who could get an international call up if he continues to impress.
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
33 minutes ago
864
Premium
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https://i.postimg.cc/jSM2rr25/Sky-Sports-Header-V1-1.png

Duell unveils Nations League squad, and makes a few changes.

Last Updated: 01/10/2026 12:00pm

https://i.postimg.cc/76m2D7s4/wemberlee.jpg


England Head Coach Mark Duell has announced his 23 man squad which will form the basis for the away UEFA Nations League double header games against the Netherlands and Croatia. Duell has made a few changes from his first squad but is insistent that the door is not closed for anyone.

Duell commented:

"I have made a few changes here and there for the latest squad, but when you have a great deal of quality talent available to choose from then there's bound to be a few upset faces. However, this squad I think gives us the best chance of taking something from our games in the Netherlands and Croatia.

The door is definitely not closed for anyone, seasoned professional or promising youngster. That I can assure everyone of."

The squad is as follows:

GOALKEEPERS:
Jordan Pickford (Tottenham Hotspur, 54 caps/0 goals)
Angus Gunn (Southampton, 13 caps/0 goals)
Dean Henderson (Olympiacos, 0 caps/0 goals)

DEFENDERS:
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, 93 caps/6 goals)
Joe Gomez (Liverpool, 72 caps/5 goals)
Ben Chilwell (Arsenal, 68 caps/3 goals)
John Stones (Manchester City, 123 caps/6 goals)
Ikechukwu Nwankwo (Tottenham Hotspur, 0 caps/0 goals)
Craig Laycock (Southampton, 5 caps/0 goals)
Rob Holding (Arsenal, 42 caps/0 goals)

MIDFIELDERS:
Dominic Clark (Manchester United, 4 caps/0 goals)
Ricky Armstrong (Tottenham Hotspur, 57 caps/3 goals)
Reiss Nelson (Liverpool, 4 caps/1 goal)
Phil Foden (RB Leipzig, 21 caps/1 goal)
Ryan Sessegnon (Manchester City, 32 caps/1 goal)
Steveroy Byers (AFC Bournemouth, 23 caps/6 goals)
Jadon Sancho (Chelsea, 52 caps/11 goals)
Emile Smith-Rowe (Arsenal, 10 caps/2 goals)

FORWARDS:
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur (136 caps/91 goals)
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United, 130 caps/57 caps)
Eddie Nketiah (Manchester United, 21 caps/7 goals)
Rhian Brewster (Wolverhampton Wanderers, 0 caps/0 goals)
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