Alex Neil's press conference ahead of Preston North End's clash with Birmingham City - deep clean at the training ground and fitness updates

Preston North End manager Alex Neil is hoping the stomach bug which hit some of the squad this week will have subsided by the time they face Birmingham City on Saturday.

Friday, 30th October 2020, 10:26 am
Updated Friday, 30th October 2020, 10:30 am

About half-a-dozen players were under the weather ahead of Wednesday night's dismal 2-0 home defeat to Millwall, with Patrick Bauer substituted at half-time after being sick.

Speaking on Friday morning on a Zoom press conference, Neil said: "We had a deep clean done at the training ground yesterday because we have a bug going around.

"The lads had yesterday off to try and recover and we are bringing them in a bit later today so that they have more of a rest. We'll see how they are.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil

"They have done a lot of games, especially the lads who have started, it really has been an intense period.

"The illness we've had has spread through the guys who have been starting, they've been doing the warm-downs together, had meetings in terms of the briefings before games.

"A lot of them are actually sat next to each other in the changing rooms when you look at the squad numbers in the team.

"With a bug like that you don't see much of an affect in the first half, it is the second half when energy levels run low."

Neil felt an example of that was the case of Bauer who seemed to get through the first half fine against Millwall before being laid low during the half-time break.

The centre-half had to be replaced by Paul Huntington for the second half.

"At half-time I went in to do my team talk and I heard someone retching in the background.

"I went through to the back of the room where the toilets are and Patrick was vomiting. The physio told me to give it a minute but then came through to say that was Patrick done.

"In the second half our energy levels dropped, that was our lowest distances covered for five games - partly because of the game went and partly due to the illness."

Neil says he is likely to freshen things up for Birmingham's visit to Deepdale.

Ben Pearson (groin), Ben Davies (ankle) and Darnell Fisher (hamstrring) have all missed games lately and Neil said a 'couple' of that trio could make it back for the weekend.

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