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Deepdale (ATT 10,279) 2nd October 2007 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: G Laws

Preston Preston North End vs Southampton So'ton

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So'ton 1

Boss reveals concerns

Simpson doubted himself prior to emphatic win

Last Updated: 02/10/07 11:24pm

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Carter: On target

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.

Performance

"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.

Deserved

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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Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23

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