Alex Neil salutes Preston North End’s working class heroes

Louis Moult slides on his knees to celebrate scoring Preston's winner against Nottingham Forest
Louis Moult slides on his knees to celebrate scoring Preston's winner against Nottingham Forest

Preston North End boss Alex Neil has hailed the ‘working class’ attitude of his side in the wake of their battling victory over Nottingham Forest.

The 1-0 win – their second Championship away success of the season – was delivered by Louis Moult’s close-range finish early in the second half.

But the backdrop to the three points was a disciplined and solid tactical display from North End against a Forest side beaten only twice before the weekend.

Neil said: “I would describe us as a working-class, hard team which wants to do the bits of the game others might not want to.

“What we have got on top of that is bits of quality to go and hurt teams.

“I’m extremely proud to be that type and the players feel exactly the same.

“In our performance we displayed all of that and I was proud of the boys.”

More than 1,400 Preston supporters made the trip to the East Midlands, Moult’s goal coming at their end of the ground.

The celebrations proved a bit lively with a couple of fans coming over the advertising boards and a blue smoke flare landing on the pitch.

That aside, the travelling numbers and level of support delighted Neil.

“They were great and we showed our appreciation at the end,” Neil said.

“I don’t think they realise how important it is that they come and support us.

“When you are up against it, them rallying us to give us that extra bit does really make a difference.

“For us to score at their end of the ground, and for them to see the goal, was great.”

Moult’s winner saw him slide in to meet a low cross from Lukas Nmecha.

It was the first time that the striker had scored in a league game for Preston as a starter, his previous five having come when he was a substitute.

Said Neil: “I’m delighted for Louis, I have spoken to him about being more selfish.

“He is usually very selfless in the way he plays, in that he comes to link play for the team and lets us build.

“We spoke about staying away from the ball a bit more, focus on getting into the box and getting goals.

“For Louis to score was very pleasing. He’s scored quite a few times coming off the bench but that was his first when he’s started.”

Neil welcomed back Tom Clarke, Ben Davies and Daniel Johnson from injury against Forest.

Johnson’s return was way ahead of schedule, and he got through 92 minutes before being subbed.

PNE lost the services of Brandon Barker in the first half to a hamstring injury, yet another casualty for Neil to contend with ahead of the busy Christmas schedule.