When Darren Ferguson replaced Alan Irvine at Deepdale last month he stated that his aim was to win promotion for Preston North End and lock horns with his father next season. With just 16 games left, and two more points dropped, it is increasingly likely that he will have to wait at least another 12 months before he joins Sir Alex in the Premier League.
Not even the presence of the Manchester United manager could inspire his son's team to victory as Preston's poor home form against neighbours Blackpool continued.
Ferguson Jnr has already been on the phone to his father to borrow Danny Welbeck and Matt James for the rest of the season, moves that have not gone unnoticed on the Fylde coast. "Daddy, daddy help me out," chanted Blackpool's 5,000-strong travelling army of fans sarcastically as the visitors threatened to secure all three points.
Welbeck was presented with two chances but lacked composure while James, an 18-year-old graduate from the Old Trafford academy, showed glimpses of skill but was unable to repeat his midweek feat when he marked his Preston debut with a goal in the victory over Sheffield United.
"It sometimes takes a bit of magic to win derby matches, but we lacked a bit of composure," Ferguson said. "It is a disappointing dressing room because we feel we didn't quite do enough to win it. It was tense because of the rivalry and what was at stake but we can't have too many complaints."
There was plenty of disappointment too in the Blackpool camp afterwards. Ian Holloway named a strong attacking line-up in an attempt to revive Blackpool's play-off fortunes yet the closest the visitors came to scoring in the first half was from a 41st minute mix-up between Preston defenders Youl Mawéné and Sean St Ledger almost led to an own goal.
Yet the visitors were much better after the interval and were presented with the two best chances to win the game. Brett Ormerod fluffed a glorious opportunity against his former club when unmarked inside the six-yard area was left holding his head in his hands with the goal gaping. That followed Ben Burgess's header when the former Southampton player failed to connect properly with the ball and Blackpool's best chance of securing a third straight win at Deepdale was gone.
Soon after DJ Campbell was denied by the crossbar as Blackpool finished strongly.
"Brett's held his hand up in the dressing room and apologised to the lads," said the Tangerines' manager, Holloway.
"The script was written for Preston to beat us and go above us in the table, but I honestly didn't think they looked like doing it. I thoroughly enjoyed our performance and if we play like that between now and the end of the season then we're going to win more games than we lose."Reuse content