First Deepdale win since September in Preston boss Alex Neil's sights

Alex Neil is looking to steer Preston's home form back on track after their recent good results on the road.

Friday, 1st December 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 10:01 pm
Preston North End's Ben Pearson in action Photographer David Shipman/CameraSport The EFL Sky Bet Championship - Ipswich Town v Preston North End - Saturday 4th November 2017 - Portman Road Stadium - Ipswich World Copyright © 2017 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - [email protected] - www.camerasport.com

North End have not won at Deepdale since September 12, the five games since in front of the faithful yielding three points.

Tomorrow they play host to Queens Park Rangers (3pm), with three of the next four games at home.

PNE manager Neil says having a more fully-stocked squad available to him will be crucial to kick-starting the home form.

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That has certainly been the case on the road, with North End having beaten Bristol City and drawn at Norwich after seeing the injury-list shorten.

“When we got players back, we were hoping our form in general would pick up,” Neil told the Post.

“That has proved to be the case in the last two away games so I’m expecting our home form to follow suit.

“Three out of next four games are at home which is good.

“That is where the bulk of the fans come and watch us play, so we want to try and put on a good performance and get them excited.

“You would like to think we could pick-up points at home in the next few games.

“They are all difficult games in the Championship, it doesn’t matter where you are in the league.

“Team pose their different threats and problems and we have to deal with them.

“We have been in good form over the last couple of matches and hopefully we can continue that.”

North End’s last home win was against Cardiff.

They drew their next two at Deepdale against Millwall and Sunderland, before losing to Brentford and Aston Villa.

Last time out a fortnight ago, they shared a goalless draw with Bolton Wanderers.

Neil will have Ben Pearson back in the fold tomorrow, the midfielder having missed last week’s trip to Norwich due to a one-match ban.

However, Daniel Johnson reached five bookings against Norwich and has to sit out QPR’s visit.

Said Neil: “That is the way it seems to be at the moment, one in and one out.

“Ben will come back and DJ is unfortunately suspended.”

In terms of QPR’s approach tomorrow, Neil is not 100% sure what to expect.

“I have watched their last four games and they have played four different systems with different personnel,” said Neil.

“This is probably one of the hardest matches in terms of making the lads aware of what might come their way.

“We will prep for them playing three at the back and four at the back.

“However, our focus will mainly be on how we play and approach things.”