Accrington Carabao Cup tie a mental test for PNE says boss Alex Neil

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Alex Neil says the build-up to Preston’s Carabao Cup clash with Accrington tonight has been about freshening his squad up mentally.

The Lilywhites boss is not concerned about the swift turnaround between the win over Sheffield Wednesday and the trip to the Crown Ground from a physical point of view.

Paul Gallagher returned from injury to feature against Sheffield Wednesday.

Paul Gallagher returned from injury to feature against Sheffield Wednesday.

But Neil wants sharp minds for the meeting with John Coleman’s side as he looks to build on the first-day victory.

“If I’m being really honest, it won’t be an issue with this group of players in terms of playing Saturday-Tuesday,” said Neil.

“We’ve got a lot of younger players and physically we are in great shape.

“On Saturday I thought we displayed unbelievable amounts of energy.

“The more important thing for us ahead of Accrington is taking information on board in the quick turnaround.

“Our preparation was limited really to yesterday in terms of the intensity of it.

“It is about trying to fill brains with a full knowledge about the opposition – how we will try to beat them and what will come at them.”

Neil was keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of team selection and whether he will rotate the squad.

There are likely to be some changes bearing in mind the majority of a big squad are available to him.

Paul Gallagher and Jordan Hugill who came on as subs in the Wednesday win, will be pushing for starts.

Both have recovered from muscle strains suffered in pre-season and would benefit from a longer run-out.

Said Neil: “I will put out a team which is capable of going to win the game.

“It might be the same XI as Saturday or it might change.

“I think I chose the right XI against Sheffield Wednesday, that was apparent by the score and the performance.

“That might not be the XI which plays regularly because certain players are suited to a certain type of match.”

Stephy Mavididi will be in the squad tonight after the striker joining on a season’s loan from Arsenal on Friday.

But Josh Harrop is ruled out by injury.

Neil said: “We’ll see where Stephy is up to.

“I have watched a lot of him and he has the attributes which will help us.

“Unfortunately Josh is not going to make it for this one.

“It is frustrating because we would have liked to have Josh some minutes in his legs.

“After his injury we tried to bring him back as quickly as we could.

“He picked up a wee niggle on the back of that, so maybe we need to take our time a bit more with him.”

Tickets for tonight’s game (7.45pm) are £15 adults, £10 Under-65s and Under-18s, and £5 Under-12s.