Alex Neil believes forwards are clicking after Preston's big win over Cardiff

Share this article

Alex Neil believes things are really starting to click in the final third after his Preston side swept aside previously unbeaten Cardiff at Deepdale.

Having not scored more than once in a Championship game so far this season goals from Josh Harrop, Sean Maguire and Alan Browne gave the Lilywhites a convincing 3-0 victory.

Sean Maguire celebrates scoring Preston's second goal.

Sean Maguire celebrates scoring Preston's second goal.

“Tom Barkhuizen, Sean and Jordan in particular are starting to knit together more because they’re playing more often together,” said Neil.

“I think we’re getting a better understanding of how I want us to work in the final third.

“I thought we got into great areas and Sean Maguire’s goal in particular was better in terms of incisiveness of passing which I think we can still improve on but we’ll get there.

“We’ve got a great mixture. Jordan is a beast and was back to his best.

“Sean’s really dynamic and then we’ve got the pace of Tom Barkhuizen.

“There’s the legs of Alan Browne, the creativity of Josh Harrop, I could go on and on.

“We’ve got so many good tools at our disposal, when they use them to their full extent then they’re a handful.”

Harrop opened the scoring with a free-kick seven minutes before the break, his first Preston goal coming on a return to the starting line-up.

“His set plays up until that point were disappointing and I actually said to my bench if this one’s not good he’s coming off and then it flies in the bottom corner,” Neil admitted.

“I’m really pleased for him.

“The last home game against Reading we won and he came out of the team the following week.

“He was unfortunate and he was itching to get another start and he did great.”

Maguire then made it two goals in two games 20 minutes from time as North End’s dominance began to be reflected in the scoreline.

“He’s really lively Sean and he’s really flexible,” Neil said.

“He’s got a bit of freedom at the moment and tonight I let him just wander and find pockets and spaces where he could hurt them.

“I thought he did that for the majority of the game and he was excellent.”

It was a case of saving the best until last, Browne profiting on an error from Cardiff ‘keeper Neil Etheridge to send a 45-yard first-time shot beyond the flailing ‘keeper and in.

“In training his finishing is excellent and I’ve been telling him he needs to convert it into a match scenario,” said Neil.

“I’m delighted for him that he managed to get his goal.

“The effort he puts in week in and week out, he really does a great job for us. He’s one of the unsung heroes that people underestimate but the amount of running he does for this team is incredible.”