PNE boss Neil wants away form to continue at Hull
Alex Neil wants Preston to pick up where they left off in terms of their away form when they face Hull City tonight.
The Lilywhites’ victory at Birmingham 11 days ago was the first on their travels this season and Neil is keen for them to get stronger.
Draws at Middlesbrough and Leeds were a sign things were heading the right way on the road, before Birmingham were put to the sword.
Hull offer the next test at the KCOM Stadium, Neil keen to meet the challenge from a side managed by ex-Russia coach Leonid Slutsky.
Neil said: “Any game away is always going to be tough, the majority of teams show their best form at home.
“We would like to improve our away from – we started that by beating Birmingham and we want to continue it with a good result at Hull.
“I think Hull will have a go, they are at home and need the points.
“They have a lot of new players who might need a bit of bedding in, while they’ve got a new foreign manager who is sampling the Championship for the first time.
“The way that Hull play will make it an expansive game, with more to-ing and fro-ing that I would normally like.
“We have to try and control that to an extent but also offer a threat going the other way.”
Neil might freshen the side up tonight to take account of the quick turnaround from the 0-0 draw with Millwall.
Alan Browne dropped to the bench against Millwall before replacing Josh Harrop after an hour.
It might be that Browne is pushing to start this time.
Ben Pearson is again ruled out through injury, while Paul Gallagher will be missing as he is suffering from shingles.
Neil admits that the loss of Pearson and Gallagher in the last few games has meant a slightly different approach. Said Neil: “Ben and Gally are technicians in the middle of the pitch, so being without them has meant we have had to fluctuate the style a bit.
“It means we are going a bit more direct than I would like but needs-must sometimes.
“I don’t ask players to do things which aren’t their strength, so I have to look at what tools they have and ask the players to do what they are capable of.”
Although disappointed by being unable to find a way past Millwall, Neil says the start PNE have made can only be viewed as a positive one.
“It wasn’t the best game on Saturday and we were all a bit frustrated the game didn’t go the way we wanted,” said Neil.
“We have to fight, scrap and bite for every single point in this league – we have to go to Hull and play as well as we can.
“No one has more belief in this team than me but I will keep my feet on the ground and make sure we don’t get above ourselves.”