Owls face backlash from shamed Lilywhites boss

Half empty: Preston boss Graham Westley is having a tough time
Half empty: Preston boss Graham Westley is having a tough time

WEDNESDAY could face a backlash from Preston at Hillsborough on Saturday after a torrid midweek match for the Lilywhites and their manager Graham Westley.

The Deepdale boss was booed from the field after a 3-1 home defeat by Brentford on Tuesday and did not appear for the post-match press conference until two hours after the final whistle.

Fans are unhappy about a record of two wins in 14 games since Preston took Westley away from Stevenage in January to succeed Phil Brown.

But he has vowed to fight on and will look for his team to respond to criticism by producing an improved performance against the Owls.

Westley will also be aiming for a personal double: he was in charge of Stevenage when they drubbed Wednesday 5-1 in September.

That was perhaps the Owls’ worst display of the season; Preston’s on Tuesday was rated as the lowest point of Westley’s reign and a contender for their worst of the campaign.

Westley has made no bones about it; he says he was embarrassed and ashamed about the way his team played: “What we gave was second class by a long way.

“We started brightly enough, got on the front foot early and did what we set out to do, which was to take the game to Brentford.

“Defensive errors cost us; we were 2-0 down before we knew it. Those errors exposed a fragility in the confidence of the team.

“We got back in it with a penalty and you probably would have expected us to take the game to them in the second half.

“We didn’t start the best in the second half, but were in the game until a dreadful error for the third goal. In the last few weeks we haven’t needed to talk too much about defensive errors: our defence has solidified.

“But they were three really poor goals. From then onwards, the things which embarrassed me and made me ashamed were the reaction that we showed.

“I’m not accustomed to seeing that attitude from a team of mine. I expect us to fight for every ball.

“When you see your side almost give up the ghost, start pumping long balls forward and turning down the responsibility to pass the ball and work it forward, it hurts a lot.

“We have a lot of thinking to do and we need to find a reaction because it wasn’t good enough.

“I take every ounce of criticism firmly on the chin. It is my responsibility now – I can look back and say I had an inheritance of a certain type. Give me time to solve the problems.

“It is my team going out there and that performance wasn’t one I was proud of. I deserve what I’m getting but we need to make the changes, we need people to pull the shirts on and wear them with pride.

“I’m big enough to take the blows; you sometimes have to get to success the hard way.

“I will dig in, fight hard and make sure we come out of it the other end.”

Brentford’s on-loan Wednesday striker Clinton Morrison played as a 54th minute substitute.

He made his debut for the Bees when he went on from the bench in the 82nd minute of last Saturday’s 2-0 home win against Rochdale.