Alex Neil wants more consistency in front of goal from PNE strikers

Preston boss Alex Neil thinks it is consistency rather than quality which his front line need to improve on to bolster their goals tally.

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PNE striker Sean Maguire holds his head after missing a chance in the goalless draw with Norwich

PNE striker Sean Maguire holds his head after missing a chance in the goalless draw with Norwich

North End are the lowest scorers in the Championship’s top half with 54 goals.

Missed chances cost them dear in the goalless draw with Norwich last Saturday.

On other occasions their decision-making has needed to be better in the final third.

Neil feels the quality is there, as proved by some of the goals they have scored.

But it needs to be delivered on a more regular basis so to develop a more ruthless side to their game.

“We haven’t scored enough goals when we’ve been on top of games,” said Neil.

“That happened against Norwich and when we played Derby the other week.

“I set up my team to press the ball, stop the other team from creating opportunities, which gives us the chance to create chances.

“We are ticking all those boxes – what we are not doing is putting the ball in the net.

“It is frustrating but that is where we are.

“Norwich were expansive and pushed their full-backs up really high.

“The amount of times we got in behind the full-backs only for the final cross or the final run not to be right.

“I have spoken a few times this season about how young we are at the top end of the pitch and how that might have played a part.

“However, they have shown at other times that they have the quality.

“It is about consistency now and doing it week in, week out.

“When that consistency comes I think we will really benefit.”

Two missed chances in the Norwich game came in the space of a couple of minutes. Billy Bodin curled a shot wide from a great position and Sean Maguire headed over the bar, Callum Robinson setting both chances up.

Said Neil: “I thought Billy’s shot was in, I really did.

“I have seen him curl in shots in training all the time and it is about doing it when it matters.

“With Sean, if it wasn’t for the goals he’s scored so far we wouldn’t be in the position we are now, challenging.

“He was disappointed to miss that chance but he’ll come back from it.

“We have strong characters in the dressing room and we haven’t dwelt on it.

“Our focus has quickly moved on to preparing to play Sheffield United.”

Preston’s youth team are through to the Lancashire FA Youth Cup final after a 6-2 win over Oldham yesterday.

Tyrhys Dolan and Ethan Walker both netted twice, with Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter (pen) on target after PNE had fallen 2-0 behind.