Boss reveals concerns
Simpson doubted himself prior to emphatic win
Last Updated: 02/10/07 11:24pm
Carter: On target
Preston boss Paul Simpson watched his side thrash Southampton 5-1 before admitting he had questioned his own ability in recent weeks.
Simpson has been targeted by a section of Preston fans after his men collected six points from their opening eight games.
That pitiful run of form forced Simpson into some gruelling self-assessment.
"It's difficult to ignore all that is thrown at you," admitted Simpson, who was mobbed by his backroom staff when substitute Patrick Agyemang slotted in Preston's fifth goal.
"But you do start to question every little thing that you do. "I don't remember them diving on me when the fifth goal went in but I think everyone knows what we have to put up with.
"This result and performance had been coming to be honest. The players did everything that we asked of them and they showed some character to come out after half-time and score four goals."
Indeed, a rousing second-half performance allowed Simpson to walk tall again and look his detractors in the eye.
A chronic lack of firepower had proved Preston's Achilles heel in the opening weeks of the season but a second-half masterclass sealed an emphatic victory.
After Billy Jones' own-goal on the stroke of half-time cancelled out Karl Hawley's 11th-minute opener, Preston enjoyed a riotous second-half as Darren Carter, Chris Sedgwick and substitute Patrick Agyemang, with two, found the net.
That it was Hawley, 25, who should be the man to lift the growing pressure from Simpson's shoulders seemed apt.
For it was the former Walsall trainee whose goals helped Carlisle to two promotions under Simpson, a run of success which prompted Preston to make a move for the former Manchester City and Derby man.
Simpson added: "Karl did everything that was asked of him and took his chance superbly well. "He deserved his goal and his overall link-up was first class."
Southampton had beaten Sheffield United 2-1 at Bramall Lane on Saturday but a woeful collapse at Deepdale put paid to any hopes they had of repeating that feat.
Saints boss George Burley said: "I thought we started a bit sloppy and they way the back four were knocking the ball around gave Preston encouragement.
"It wasn't a penalty but if we give goals away and make mistakes we are going to lose matches.
"It is our aim now to bounce back against West Brom at the weekend."
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