Just above Sheffield Wednesday and QPR – Preston North End must fix issue if they want promotion…

North End’s Impressive Start Built on Clinical Finishing, But Can They Sustain It?

The 2023-24 Championship season is now well underway, and while some familiar faces are occupying the top spots in the table, Preston North End has emerged as a surprise contender.

Despite underwhelming creative metrics, Ryan Lowe’s side has managed to rack up an impressive 22 goals in their first 16 matches, placing them among the division’s top scorers.

While their current position suggests otherwise, the underlying numbers paint a different picture. North End’s Shot Creating Actions (SCA) per 90 minutes rank among the lowest in the Championship, indicating a struggle to generate scoring opportunities.

Their Expected Goals (xG) figure also raises concerns, with their actual goal tally significantly outperforming their expected output.

This suggests that North End’s success so far is largely due to their clinical finishing rather than their ability to create chances. While this approach has served them well, there are doubts about whether it can be sustained throughout the season.

Ryan Lowe’s style of play, often relying on counter-attacks and soaking up pressure, has been effective in many matches. However, as the season progresses and opponents become more familiar with their tactics, North End may find it increasingly difficult to create scoring opportunities.

If North End is to maintain their position among the promotion contenders, they need to address their lack of creativity in the final third. While their clinical finishing has been impressive, it is unlikely to be enough to carry them through the entire season.

Lowe’s side needs to find a way to create more chances consistently, either through a change in tactics or personnel. If they can achieve this, they will have a much stronger case for a top-six finish.


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