Clubs can’t afford to rest on past glories says PNE boss

Tom Clarke is set to continue at right-back against Nottingham Forest on Saturday
Tom Clarke is set to continue at right-back against Nottingham Forest on Saturday

Alex Neil believes two sides wanting to write new chapters in their rich histories meet at Deepdale on Saturday.

Both Preston North End and Nottingham Forest have their own special places in English football folklore.

The Lilywhites were the original Invincibles, an unbeaten season seeing them win the inaugural Football League competition and 
FA Cup back in the 1888-89 campaign.

Under Brian Clough, Forest won back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980 but have fallen on harder times in recent seasons.

Mark Warburton’s men head to Deepdale on Saturday 11th, five points and two places behind PNE in the race for the play-offs.

“There are some big teams and it’s really competitive division,” said Neil, whose side are unbeaten in their last six games.

“But Nottingham Forest, like so many clubs and even us to a certain extent, can be weighed down by their history.

“What we want to do here is we want to create new history. We don’t want to keep talking about the olden days because to me that suggests you’re not successful.

“We want to try and build new memories and hopefully try and achieve good things.

“I’m sure Mark and Nottingham Forest will be the same.”

Neil’s side are going the right way about trying to achieve something, a recent upturn in form seeing them just two points shy of the top six after three straight wins.

“We’re in good form at the moment,” the PNE boss said. “We’ve been deserving of the victories.

“They can come in different ways. Sometimes you scrape a couple that you don’t deserve and I don’t think that encourages confidence.

“People maybe realise they’ve got away with it but that’s not been the case.

“We’re relatively pleased with what we’ve been doing, we just need to keep it going.”

The meeting with Forest on Saturday marks the halfway point of the 46-game Championship campaign and the signs are good in more ways than one for North End.

Improving results look set to be backed up further by new recruits in January, Louis Moult’s arrival from Motherwell already confirmed, with some key men also still to return from injury, Greg Cunningham and Sean Maguire amongst those on the sidelines.

“It doesn’t always guarantee you winning games but it will help,” said Neil.

“If we can continue on the path we’re on then I’m hoping we’ll have a strong second half of the season.

“If we win on Saturday we can go into the play-off places so we’re certainly not far away.”