Neil wants PNE to hit top gear

Josh Harrop impressed on his first Preston North End start against Reading
Josh Harrop impressed on his first Preston North End start against Reading

Preston North End boss Alex Neil is keen for his frustration on the touchline not to be misinterpreted.

The North End manager often cuts an animated figure on the sidelines, even when his side are seemingly in the ascendancy in games.

But Neil insists it is simply because he wants a promising side to hit the heights he knows they are capable of.

Preston’s 1-0 win over last year’s play-off finalists Reading on Saturday could have come by a greater margin, the only downside the boss could point to after a second encouraging Deepdale display of the new campaign.

“I need to curb my enthusiasm at the side sometimes because I keep flinging my bottle, which is not good,” Neil said.

“It’s just frustration because I know how good they can be. I think if they chose the right pass on more occasions we would have scored a few more goals.

“I want them to get as much credit as they deserve. That’s the only frustration for me.”

After the defeat to Derby last week saw his side squander some promising positions in the final third, Neil was keen to see an improvement against Reading and he got that, despite PNE only having Jordan Hugill’s first-half volley to show for their efforts.

“Our use of the ball was definitely better,” the Lilywhites boss said.

“ We created chances on Saturday, we didn’t create chances at Derby.

“When we got there, the pass was that poor we didn’t have an opportunity to score.

“On Saturday I thought we created opportunities for ourselves, which was good.”

Sean Maguire and Josh Harrop were brought in to freshen up the front-line, the latter making his first Championship start since his move from Manchester United.

“He was fantastic,” said Neil. “I thought he did really well. In a young side he was another one who had his first start at this level.

“I thought he did great but there wasn’t a player on the pitch for us who didn’t contribute and do really well.”

One forward player likely to be on the move before the end of the transfer window is Eoin Doyle.

Having finished last season on loan at Portsmouth, the Irish striker has not been part of any matchday 18 so far this campaign.

Yesterday he was linked with a loan move to League One Plymouth Argyle with one report suggesting a deal between the sides was done.

That is understood to be wide of the mark, however, with the Pilgrims having made an enquiry about taking Doyle to Home Park last week only to then sign Celtic’s Nadir Ciftci for the season on Monday.