Alex Neil expects a big response from Preston North End at Barnsley

Alex Neil and the Preston North End squad have not gone overboard in their inquest into the Luton defeat, with their full focus now on tonight’s visit to Barnsley.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 8:00 am

Deepdale boss Neil had his say in the aftermath of the 3-0 reverse and naturally it was discussed in training.

Now it is about trying to put things right at Oakwell against a Barnsley side who are in some decent form.

Neil said: “Yesterday we were prepping for the Barnsley game , we’d no time to dwell on Luton.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson makes a sliding tackle in the win at AFC Bournemouth

“We know we were really disappointing at Luton, it was poor in all aspects.

“What we need to do now is get our reaction right at Barnsley, that is the next one.

“Knowing our lads, I fully expect every one of them to have been deeply disappointed with how they performed, I don’t think I’m going to have to delve too deeply for that.

“Last week when we beat Middlesbrough, what we didn’t do the next day was for an hour talk about how great we were.

Daniel Johnson could return to the PNE starting XI at Barnsley

“So the last thing we wanted to do after Luton was talk for an hour about how terrible we were.

“It’s about getting that balance and perspective. We have a group of honest lads who know what their standards are.”

Neil is likely to freshen the side up although he hinted his selection options were slightly limited.

Brad Potts limped off after an hour at Luton with a tight calf which could well rule him out this evening.

Daniel Johnson would be the natural replacement in the advanced midfield role.

Johnson was one of five substitutes Neil used at the weekend as he tried to turn PNE’s fortunes around.

At the back, Jordan Storey was a half-time sub for Paul Huntington, which did not have the desired effect.

So it will be interesting who lines up in the centre of defence.

It is back to behind-closed-doors football this evening, with South Yorkshire in tier 3.

At Luton, 2,000 home fans were inside Kenilworth Road and Neil felt they made a big difference, even in those limited numbers.

Neil said: “When Luton scored their first goal, even though there were only 2,000 fans in, it felt like a lot more.

“It sapped the life out of our players almost which wasn’t what we wanted.

“Fans do have an effect on games – look at three games in the Premier League.

“Chelsea who have been running riot, went to Everton who had fans and got beaten.

“Tottenham didn’t win at Crystal Palace where the fans had an influence.

“Liverpool who have been clean-slating everyone, only drew at Fulham.”

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here