Alex Neil wants to make the most of back-to-back home games for Preston North End

Preston’s focus will turn back to Deepdale tomorrow after an excellent week on the road which strengthened their promotion push.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 6:00 am

The Lilywhites play host to Millwall (3pm), the first of back-to-back home games, with Hull City visiting next weekend.

Following up the wins at Wigan and Stoke is important for Alex Neil’s men as they look to stay in the thick of the leading pack.

Although Neil admitted his side were not at their best in beating Stoke, the North End boss felt it made up for some previous away matches where they had not got what they deserved.

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Preston midfielder Ben Pearson is booked during the win at Stoke

Neil said: “The result at Stoke was very satisfying.

“We went to Leeds and were terrific, we went to Cardiff and were terrific, we were terrific at Nottingham Forest and Swansea, yet we didn’t pick up three points in any of those games.

“For me, beating Stoke feels like a bit of balance has been restored.

“I know things don’t even themselves out over the course of a season but it is satisfying knowing you have at least got back a couple of points which we deserved.”

North End are unbeaten in six games, taking 14 points from a possible 18.

The challenge is to stretch that form much further.

Neil said: “Every team goes through really good spells and bad spells.

“We are going through a good spell at the moment and we need to make sure that lasts as long as possible.

“If we can continue that between now and the end of the season, we will give ourselves a really good chance.

“The one thing which is guaranteed with this group of players is that they will give it their best shot, that is all you can ask.”

Neil will check on Alan Browne’s fitness ahead of the game, the midfielder having taken a heavy blow on his right ankle at Stoke.

It was a case of friendly fire, team-mate Darnell Fisher catching him.

Declan Rudd had some discomfort in his hip at Stoke but should be fine.

Said Neil: “Dec jarred his hip a little bit in the first half and it affected his kicking.

“To be fair we resolved that at half-time and his kicking was much better after that.”

Ben Pearson cramped-up in the closing moments of the Stoke game but should be fine to face Millwall.

The midfielder was booked for the first time since Boxing Day at the bet365 Stadium, referee John Brooks deeming he had adopted an aggressive attitude after being barged in the back by James McClean.

Stoke winger McClean put a picture of the incident on social media with a derogatory comment about Pearson but later deleted it.