Alex Neil demanding a strong finish from Preston North End players

Alex Neil will not be treating Preston North End’s final game of the season at Bristol City tonight as a dead rubber.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 8:00 am

There is nothing riding on the Ashton Gate clash in terms of promotion or relegation, with it being 11th versus eighth.

It is the only Championship game which doesn’t have a bearing on something at either end of the table.

Victory could see North End finish seventh, while 11th is the lowest they could drop.

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Ryan Ledson has impressed since forcing his way into the Preston North End side in recent games

PNE manager Neil says there is still much for play for and that is something which has been talked about in the build-up to the game.

Neil said: “I’ve told the lads that players are being judged every time they go on to the pitch, whether that is by me, the fans, other clubs who might potentially be interested in them. Personal pride should take precedence in this sort of scenario.

“If you are a competitive person or a sportsman, whatever you do you want to do it to the best of your ability and want to win.

“People might say there is nothing on this game, that they will have their flip-flops on and all that palaver, but I don’t believe that for one minute.

“The simple fact is there might be a couple of players in the squad whose contracts are out in a year’s time – do you retain them or not retain them?

“This could be a big game for some of them. Equally, if you are trying to impress because you want to leave or you want a new contract and that bit of extra money, that adds up to something.”

In terms of selection, Neil has used the majority of his squad since the restart of the season a month ago – 21 players have seen action in the eight games.

Ryan Ledson, Brad Potts, Jordan Storey and Joe Rafferty are four who have played their way into Neil’s plans during recent weeks.

Ledson is likely to deputise for Ben Pearson again in midfield.

In Saturday’s victory over Birmingham, Potts was on the scoresheet, with Storey strong at the back.

Said Neil: “Potentially I could look at a few things but if you look at the team it has changed significantly over the last few games.

“It is not as if I have run with the same players.

“Lads who maybe didn’t feature a lot in the first part of the season have featured heavily in this recent batch of games.

“There are a couple of lads you could argue we haven’t had a look at.

“After the home win the other day, the lads will want to be out there again.

“What we have to take into consideration is that this is the eighth game in just over three weeks.”