Neil is ready for the challenge of Leeds

Alex Neil is expecting a tough physical challenge at Leeds and says that will be par of the course over the whole season.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 11th August 2017, 4:00 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:00 pm
Samuel Saiz celebrates his second goal against Port Vale
Samuel Saiz celebrates his second goal against Port Vale

The trip to Elland Road is his first Championship away game as Preston manager.

It is a clash Neil is looking forward to and he is backing his side to give a good account of themselves in Yorkshire.

Neil said: “I think any away game in the Championship is difficult.

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“One of the things we talk about is turning Deepdale into a fortress and other clubs will be saying the same thing about their grounds.

“This is not going to be an easy task but we are capable of going there and getting a result.

“We have to stand up to Leeds physically and match that – Sheffield Wednesday were big and strong last week and we stood up to that well.”

Neil ran the rule over Leeds in their 3-2 win over Bolton last Sunday and has studied all of their pre-season games to get a feel of how they play.

He also watched them beat Port Vale 4-1 in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.

Reflecting on what he saw from Leeds at Bolton, Neil said: “I thought Leeds looked dangerous going forward and could have put the game out of sight really.

“But it turned into a match when from Leeds’ point of view, it should not have done.”

There will be two summer appointments in the Elland Road technical area, with Neil down the touchline from new Leeds head coach Thomas Christiansen.

The Dane got the Leeds job in June, arriving from FC Apoel in Cyprus.

In his one season in charge, Christiansen guided them to the Cypriot title and the last 16 of the Europa League.

Before that, he coached AEK Larnaca in Cyrpus and Al Jazria in the United Arab Emirates.

Two wins out of two has been a perfect start for the 44-year-old and if Leeds were to beat PNE, he would be the first United boss to win his first three games in charge since Jimmy Armfield in 1974.

Leeds’ win at Bolton came about through two goals from Kalvin Phillips and a Chris Wood strike.

Against Vale, Samuel Saiz netted a hat-trick with Caleb Ekuban getting the other.

Saiz was a summer buy from Getafe and this was the perfect debut for him.

However, Vale manager Michael Brown was to claim post-match that Saiz had spat at one of the Vale players.

That is an allegation which Leeds have strongly denied.

The West Yorkshire club have been busy recruiting this summer, with eight pieces of permanent business.

Two of those involved loan deals for Pontus Janssson and Hadi Sacko being turned into full-time moves. They have dealt in the loan market too, signing Matthew Pennington from Everton and Manchester United’s Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.

North End will be looking for their first win at Elland Road since that 6-4 thriller nearly seven years ago.

Before that, you have to go back to September 1961 to find their last win.