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LOAN PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: Sunderland talent Pickford in prime touch for Preston

Jordan Pickford has been in impressive form of late for Preston North End.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper, who is on a season-long loan from Sunderland, was voted Man of the Match as the Lilywhites drew 1-1 with Birmingham City at Deepdale on Tuesday night.

Pickford produced a number of key saves to preserve the 1-1 scoreline late in proceedings in what he believes was perhaps a lucky escape for the home team.

“It was probably a good result for us in the end," Pickford told PNE Player after the final whistle.

“They had quite a few chances at the end - I was a bit disappointed with the goal we conceded from my point of view - I was in no man's land.

“They're a good side and they've started the season well so it's a valuable point at the end.

“It would have been nice to get the second goal – when you're only 1-0 there's always a chance that they can come back and that's what they did - they're a counter attacking side - but we did well and it's a point at the end of the day."

Pickford came up with a handful of fine saves on the night, denying Demarai Gray, Jon Toral, James Vaughan and Michael Morrison, to help Preston remain in 16th place on the Championship table.

His overall performance, apart from Birmingham's leveller from Morrison, also prompted high praise from Preston boss Simon Grayson: "He was the first to admit when he came in there and apologised for the goal because he's come for it and missed it completely.

"We forgive him for that because he kept us in the game anyway. It shows he's got high standards for himself.

"We're very delighted that Sunderland have allowed him to be at our football club.

“The lad's got a bright future wherever he's going to be. We're just happy to have him and help with his development."

Pickford's form in the second tier has Black Cats boss Sam Allardyce considering an early recall which Grayson admits would be a disappointment for his club.

"We are grateful that we've had him," Grayson added. "What will be, will be in the future, we'll see where it goes."

The stellar performance comes just days after Pickford kept a clean sheet against Reading on the weekend which took his season tally to 12 shut outs.

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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