Alex Neil says Preston North End ready to embrace the task of upsetting in-form Brentford

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil says the challenge of trying to halt Brentford’s winning run is an exciting one.

Neil takes his side to Griffin Park at teatime (5pm) with the task of keeping the Lilywhites in the play-off hunt.

Realistically they need to bring back something from the capital in order to take the top-six push into the final two matches.

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In order for that to happen, PNE need to break Brentford’s seven-match winning run.

Jordan Storey is set to deputise for Ben Davies in Preston’s visit to Brentford todayJordan Storey is set to deputise for Ben Davies in Preston’s visit to Brentford today
Jordan Storey is set to deputise for Ben Davies in Preston’s visit to Brentford today

That stretches back to the game before lockdown, with the Bees having adapted perfectly to football’s new conditions since the restart.

Neil said: “We’ll have to go with mindset we have adopted in the past.

“I remember Norwich coming to us last season and they had been on a terrific run.

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“We turned them over, won 3-1 and did it in a manner some teams might have been frightened to do because of how aggressive we were.

“I think there is merit in that, looking at Brentford and thinking, ‘Other teams haven’t done it but we can’.

“We know how tough it is going to be, Brentford are in great form and on a roll.

“I think this is their best run of wins at this level and credit to them.”

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Neil has a few injuries to contend with, something he expected with the testing weekend/midweek schedule.

He has already ruled out Ben Davies who hurt his hamstring just before half-time in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.

Jordan Storey is his likely deputy, although there is a return to the squad for Paul Huntington who has served a three-match ban.

Mind you, Huntington could be needed if Patrick Bauer does not make it.

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Bauer felt his hamstring tighten against Forest and Neil had Storey ready to come on. Then Davies pulled up and Storey had to come off the bench to take his place.

Said Neil: “The defence is a position we have some great cover in. I thought Jordan Storey was excellent in the second half the other day.

“Paul Huntington came in against Derby and stiffened the defence but then got the suspension.

“I’m hoping and thinking that Patrick will be okay.

“The thing with big Pat is that because of his size he can take a little bit longer than other players to recover.”

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Ben Pearson was subbed at half-time against Forest after getting a painful bang on the knee in a collision with team-mate Sean Maguire.

Fellow midfielder Alan Browne remains a doubt with a calf strain which forced him to miss Saturday’s game.

Neil said: “We’ll see how Pearo is. Browney will be a late shout to give him a chance to be fit. But is a quick turnaround for him.”