Preston North End Manager Darren Ferguson is calling on his players to show greater levels of concentration during matches as they try to haul themselves away from the lower reaches of the npower Championship table.
After a set of poor early season results the Lilywhites seemed to be on an upward trend with a three-match unbeaten run before Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Derby County left them just one point and one place above the relegation zone.
"We should be doing far better with the group of players we've got at the club," said Ferguson. "They frustrate me more than anything and I've told them that.
"A big word used in football is concentration. It's why players at the top level play up there - their concentration is 100 per cent top notch.
"You've got to have full concentration for the whole game. We can't have periods where we do what happened at Derby because we'll get beaten; it's as simple as that.
"This League is very close and most Managers would say that anyone can beat anyone on their day, but we're just letting games slip away at the moment."
One game that Preston did not let slip away was their incredible recent away-day at Leeds United, where they came back from 4-1 down to win 6-4.
But that was one of only three matches that the Lilywhites have won in the 11 Championship outings they have had to date.
And as his side prepares for two successive home games, against Scunthorpe United on Tuesday evening and Crystal Palace on Saturday, Ferguson is looking for wins that do not require the sort of nerve-jangling heroics that were on display at Elland Road.
"For whatever reason," he said, "we seem to be trying to claw back deficits in games quite a lot and you're not going to do a Leeds every week.
"We're in a block of three games in a week at the moment and we've put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win these two home games coming up.
"Our home form has not been up to scratch so far this season, so although you'd like to think that on Tuesday we'll get a win we'll have to play well - and do so for 90 minutes, not 60 or 70."
The Deepdale double-header gives Preston the chance to both climb above 19th in the table Scunthorpe and stretch the gap between themselves and second bottom Palace.
Can the Lilywhites push themselves up the table? Despite his current frustration with his team, Ferguson has no doubts that they can indeed do that. "Definitely," said the Manager, "there's no problem with that."
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