Brad Potts becoming a go-to player in Preston North End away matches
Brad Potts has become one of Preston’s go-to players in away game this season and Alex Neil believes he can be even more of an influence.
Potts scored in North End’s 3-0 victory over Reading on Wednesday night, steaming into the box in stoppage time to finish off a counter-attack.
He was recalled to the side at the Madejski Stadium after being benched for last week’s home defeat to Birmingham.
The 26-year-old has started all four of PNE’s away wins, his other goal coming against Brentford last month.
North End manager Alex Neil said: “Brad is suited to how we play away.
“He has unbelievable legs in terms of hitting the box from midfield, on the counter-attack or in transition, he is a big, powerful runner.
“I think physically in terms of aggression he is getting better, that is something I have been speaking to him regularly about.
“He’s such a big unit – Brad is 6ft 2in, a big lad and strong, it is about using those physical attributes to the maximum effect.
“Sometimes he is not as physical as he should be. When he is he can really impose himself on people.”
Neil has used Potts on the left-hand side of midfield of late, switching him and Scott Sinclair around.
Not a natural winger, Potts tends to tuck in and being on the left will help him come inside on to his right foot.
Said Neil: “Brad gives is a bit more defensive solidity.
“As he’s not a wide player, he naturally tucks in a little bit more that say Tom Barkhuizen would.
“Tom is a natural winger and will start 10 yards further up the pitch than Brad will.
“It’s not really something they are told to do, it is just the type of players they are.
“Brad sits a bit deeper which helps us away from home, makes us more solid.”
Bearing all that in mind, Potts seems a certain starter for North End’s clash with Rotherham at the New York Stadium today (3pm).
Neil expects a tough game against the Millers, perhaps a lot different to some of the other away matches where the home team has been open and expansive.
“Our away form has been excellent but it is the points tally that matters,” said Neil.
“If we can take three points this weekend from a tough game, we would probably end up in the top 10.
“For the amount of injuries we’ve had and the run of fixtures there has been, I think that would set us up nicely.
“Rotherham will be tough opponents, they are a very competitive side.
“They pride themselves on how much they get about the pitch, not making it an easy game. Every game I have watched, Rotherham have been well in it.”
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