Five games and five defeats for Alex Neil’s Preston team at Deepdale

Alex Neil admits he sounds like a ‘broken record’ when talking about Preston North End’s dismal results at Deepdale.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 2nd November 2020, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites manager watched his side lose a fifth straight home league game when they were beaten 2-1 by Birmingham City.

They looked on course for a point after Jayden Stockley’s superb finish had equalised an early goal from the visitors.

With five minutes left though, they allowed Gary Gardner a free header in the six-yard box for Birmingham’s winner.

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Preston North End's manager Alex Neil

Neil said: “I sound like a broken record, I’m not really sure what to say because if I knew what the answer was, I would fix it.

“I thought we had ample opportunities to win the game and there wasn’t very much in the game at all.

“I thought that we played okay, I thought Birmingham played okay.

“The difference was going to be who would more clinical with their chances.

“We had better chances than they did but we didn’t punish them when we were on top.

“Defensively I wanted us to sit in our shape, not allow Birmingham a lot of space and to defend our box.

“That is what I thought we were good at but for the second goal we didn’t defend the box well at all.

“Their first goal was ridiculous really, it was a clipped ball and we had people behind the ball.

“Yet we ended up on the floor and the ball ended up in the back of the net.”

Birmingham followed Swansea, Stoke, Cardiff and Millwall in leaving Deepdale with three points.

Next up for North End are two games on the road, at Reading on Wednesday and then Rotherham on Saturday.

After that comes the November international break before action resumes on November 21.

Neil looks like he will have to change one or both of his full-backs for those games.

Darnell Fisher returned to the side on Saturday after more than a month out with a hamstring strain.

He had to come off after 65 minutes after complaining of cramp in the hamstring.

Then moments after PNE had made their third and final substitution, Andrew Hughes pulled up with a hamstring injury.

The left-back had to play on for the remainder of the game but could barely run.

Neil said: “Darnell went down and put his hand up to say that was him done.

“He had taken cramp in the hamstring. No sooner had he come off than Andrew hurt his hamstring.

“We ended up effectively playing with 10 men for the last few minutes because Andrew couldn’t move.”