Date:Thursday August 3 2006
It's back! 'Who Are Yer?' interviews Vital Preston North End editor Craig Laycock ahead of the Owls opening game of the new Championship season.
We ask Craig about the departure of Billy Davies from Deepdale and his expectations for the new season, and also the current injury crisis at the Lancashire club. Maybe it's not just Middlewood Road that's cursed afterall!
1. First things first - what are your expectations for the new season?
We're notioriously slow starters. If we can get off to a good start,though, and get up to the top of the table early on I'm optimistic that we have the strength and experience to stay there. One thing that will hurt us this season is the inexperience of our centre-backs. The loss of Mawene through injury may be key.
2. How big a loss will Billy Davies's departure be to the club?
He won't be missed. We've been through managers before who have been ambitious and young (Moyes, for example) and when we've lost them we've continued to build. Craig Brown aside, our chairman has a firm belief
that young, ambitious managers are the key to success. It helps that Davies left so acrimoniously.
3. What do you think of the appointment of Paul Simpson as boss?
Simmo (Paul Simpson) fits the young and ambitious bill perfectly and based on his displays in pre-season he's going to take us from strength to strength. Simmo also has a good knowledge of lower-league players, so hopefully we'll get a few more Nugents in! He's said he's going to bring
attacking football to Deepdale, so I for one can't wait!
4. Who have you brought in this summer?
Pugh, Chilvers, St Ledger. We now need a proven goal-scorer to partner Nugent.
5. How has your pre season gone?
Excellently. We've turned over a few lower-league teams and looked good on the back of it. A loss to Oldham was a low-point, but that was with a second string side. Our latest victory came against Manchester United, who looked ineffective against our defence.
6. What's the news on David Nugent - will he stay or will he go?
He'll stay. Nuge isn't quite ready to move on yet, but fans are increasingly concerned by the fact that he's stalling over signing a new contract. He's known to be on some of the lowest wages at the club and him not wanting to improve that may be telling. I personally think he'll stay for at least another season, or at worst until Christmas.
7. Youl Mawene picked up an injury in the impressive victory over
Manchester United in pre-season, how big a blow is that?
It's a huge blow. The defence was our rock last season, and he was a really key part of it. We need the young men to step up to the plate now and prove they can mix it at this level. Wilson looks like a class-act,
as does St Ledger.
8. Who are your danger men?
Nugent is lethal, Pugh looks sharp on the left and Stock could be the Championship's answer to Michael Carrick if he gets a run in the first team.
9. Can you reccommend a good pub for the travelling wednesdayites?
The Sumners is a very friendly pub just down the road from Deepdale. It's very popular among away fans and is used to catering for them. Home fans and away fans tend to mix and get on well in there, each enjoying a bit of friendly banter.
10. What do you think the score will be?
I have the utmost respect for Wednesday, but I expect us to get off to a flying start. 2-0 Preston.
Thanks Craig - good luck for the new season, you must get some luck in the play-offs soon! Hopefully you won't be kicking into gear too soon, though...
Next Up - Luton Town!
Date:Thursday August 3 2006
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