Andy Munro reports on Blues from a damp Preston.
Not many teams will leave Middlesbrough with a point that could have easily been three, and I suppose nobody could blame Gary Rowett for trying to keep continuity with the side he picked to play Preston. Having said that, Preston were in the Rotherham, Charlton, Huddersfield category and therefore a Blues banana skin waiting to happen.
Of course, Blues never make it easy and so it proved with Preston giving the Blues no respite with their pressing game, in the first half. The fact that Preston went one nil up was of no real surprise and holed below the waterline our counter attacking ploy. However, the second half was a different prospect completely and at half-time the manager must have loosened his tie and rolled up the sleeves on his cashmere V neck.
In the second period, there was only really one team in it and Morro made up for his miss at the weekend with a soaring header to put us back on terms. In fact, Blues were in the ascendancy and could have easily gone on to claim all three points. The culprit was Demarai Gray who missed a couple of chances and, in particular, a gilt edge chance in the dying seconds.
In fairness, it was a chance he made out of nothing for himself following a mazy run but no doubt, he will be pilloried on social media to the same degree that Rowett is lauded. In fact, Demarai Gray is still young and very much work in progress and a bit like Sterling, he tends to be erratic with his final flourishes.
Toral came on for Shinnie half way through the match and one hopes will now be permanently back in the frame. That apart, until the return of the cavalry in the shape of Clayton D and Stevie C, there’s probably not much tinkering to be done as we continue to flirt with the play offs. Still, it’s about time we did the business at home but it won’t be easy against a recently rejuvenated Kenwyn Jones inspired Cardiff side…then again, nothing is easy at home for Blues at the present moment.