Brown hails spirit as Preston rescue point

Preston North End 1 Leicester City 1
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The Independent Football

There are few strata of football where getting your wheeling and dealing right in the transfer window is as crucial as in the Championship.

That was one of the main messages of bottom club Preston North End's gritty 1-1 draw with Leicester in Phil Brown's first league match in charge.

Preston remain three points adrift at the foot of the table, but Brown detected signs of buoyancy in this hard-earned result. The new Preston manager has a couple of irons in the fire for loan signings, as well as a couple of permanent moves.

"But they have to add to the group, because they showed tremendous spirit today," said Brown, who, perhaps thanks to the best part of a year out of the limelight since his sacking by Hull, is now Phil Not-Quite-As-Brown-As-He-Used-To-Be.

In his programme notes, he asked his players to win the 50-50 balls and despite being outplayed for long periods, that was what they tried to do right to the end, earning their reward with Iain Hume's 90th-minute equaliser and Andy Lonergan's point-saving block from Andy King.

The loan market is now a trickier terrain for Preston, who cannot rely on borrowing Manchester United players since the sacking of Darren Ferguson, and Brown had mixed fortunes with the two loanees he introduced.

Blackburn midfielder Amine Linganzi looked the part until he aggravated the groin injury with which he started the match. Nathan Ellington returned from exile in Greece as a second-half substitute and almost created a goal immediately.

All the same, Brown cast an envious eye over the calibre of loan signing that Sven Goran Eriksson is able to bring to Leicester. On Saturday, that primarily meant Ayegbeni Yakubu.

He might have played his part in the Everton goal drought, but, one division down, he looked dangerous every time he was near the ball. He scored a clever goal and immediately formed good combinations with Paul Gallagher and Lloyd Dyer.

Eriksson was quietly purring with satisfaction at the Nigerian's contribution and predicted that his goal could be the first of many for a Leicester side that could yet make the playoffs.

"He has a wealth of Premier League experience coming through the door," said Brown of Eriksson's advantages when it comes to recruitment.

His own efforts to avoid relegation will hinge as well on getting more from what he has. Those 50-50 balls – when Eriksson called Preston "physical" it was a compliment – are part of the story, but so is the odd tactical wrinkle.

On Saturday, Brown fielded three centre-backs and wing-backs and, as a formation, it worked. There could be more rearrangement of the furniture, though the new boss knows he needs a few more new tables and chairs.

Preston North End (3-5-2): Lonergan; Cort, St Ledger, Morgan; Jones, McLaughlin (Nicholson 48), Carter (Ellington 62), Russell, Linganzi (Parry 45); Hume, Hayes. Substitutes not used Arestidou, Treacy, Mayor, Barton. Booked Russell, McLaughlin.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Weale; Naughton, Bamba, Hobbs, Berner; Wellens, Abe, King, Gallagher (Moussa 86); Yakubu (Howard 86), Dyer (Oakley 77). Substitutes not used Logan, Mee, Moreno, Waghorn.

Man of the match Yakubu

Referee D Coote (Notts)

Att 14,205

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