Is it Ryan Lowe in or Ryan Lowe out at Preston North End?


After falling to another emphatic loss at the weekend, this time by the hands of Burnley, some of the Preston North End faithful have turned on boss Ryan Lowe.

It was a Nathan Tella hat-trick that condemned PNE to another defeat, their third loss in a row in all competitions. The hope was that the Lilywhites’ exceptional away form might see them pull off a surprise win over their rivals but it wasn’t to be on the day. North End were out-fought and bested at every opportunity.

Our home form is now the second worst in the entire league. Those supporters who bought into the dream back in the summer and played their part are not being rewarded for their faith. 15 games have produced just 13 points and nine goals. For context, Wigan have managed 12, three more than us.

It’s our phenomenal away form that has kept us going in the second tier but you wouldn’t have thought so at the weekend. We’re currently ranked fourth for the most amount of points gathered on our travels and hopefully that will continue after this blip against Burnley (who are, in fairness, the best team in the division).

However, even with the fact that the Clarets have been outstanding in mind, there have still been plenty of fans to change their opinion on Ryan Lowe this weekend. Those who firmly believed the former Plymouth man needed backing are now calling for his head. They blame bad team selection, a bad style of play and a formation that isn’t doing the trick as the reasons for wanting Lowe cast out.

It’s hard to gauge though whether anything would change with Lowe out of the exit door. Some of the issues certainly lie higher up and if a manager is having to work with his hands tied behind his back most of the time, he is going to struggle to get the results and to play the way he wants to. There may have been certain signings he wanted or certain deals he would have liked but ultimately the decision hasn’t come down to him. It’s left him short-changed in certain areas of the field and that is bound to lead to him struggling.

Lowe though hasn’t done himself any favours. When unable to sign a wing-back over the course of the last three windows – despite oftentimes claiming he might quite like one – he has gone on to claim that we don’t need one. No PNE fan is a manager like Lowe of course but anyone can see that we are short in that position. The same can be said across the field and with the amount of loans and short-term deals, it’s easy to feel we aren’t prepared for the future. An insistence from Lowe on blaming other parties for his shortcomings has not endeared himself to the supporters either and a reluctance to switch-up his 3-5-2 formation has also alienated some fans.

There are certainly issues then and perhaps Lowe is not the biggest of them but he is certainly beginning to feel like he may certainly be one. The annoying thing is there seems to be a decent manager in there. He led Plymouth up and did the same with Bury and has made his teams play some excellent football in the past. It just isn’t happening with PNE. Given time, he could turn things around but the issue is, his decisions and choices are meaning he may not be afforded that luxury.

Finally, this is a website for the fans, by the fans. As a fan myself then, I feel it only fair to tell people where I stand with Lowe. I feel that results are slowly making his position untenable for definite. We may have a phenomenal away record but our home record is diabolical and we are regularly producing some of the worst football at Deepdale that I have seen since I began to watch the club. I think another issue is not so much the defeats but the manner of them. There were games in the past when some of the best sides in the division would come to Deepdale and win but fans would be left in no doubt as to the work put in by our team. They would come away deserving at least a point and would be unfortunate to come away with nothing. This season though, how many times can we say that the team have played out of their skin and been unlucky not to get a result or have been deserving of three points? Against Burnley, we merely rolled aside.

Against Arsenal in the cup a few years ago, I remember feeling sick to my stomach to not come away with at least a draw in the cup against them. After some phenomenal play by Aiden McGeady and Callum Robinson, there was no question we had given one of the best outfits in the Premier League a very exciting game. Even when Man United came to down, a Scott Laird effort had many PNE fans dreaming of an upset. When Tottenham arrived at Deepdale the other week, we showed some heart within the opening half without ever really threatening and then were disposed of without a whimper as they came away 3-0 winners.

The Championship is a funny league and a few wins on the trot could see us shoot up the league and the murmurs of a Lowe departure may quieten. However, on this current path, it’s hard not to be seriously considering the future of the manager and whether he should be shown the Deepdale exit door or not.

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