How Preston North End's current points tally compares with previous seasons
Alex Neil has been keen to stress of late that Preston North End are better placed at this stage of the season to push for promotion than they have been during his tenure.
The statistics back up Neil’s assertions and the Lilywhites manager will be hoping his side can continue that upwards curve.
Going into the clash with Swansea at Deepdale, North End have 46 points from 29 Championship games. They sit in seventh place and are seven points shy of West Bromwich Albion, who occupy second spot.
Last season after their 29th game – a 2-0 win at Stoke City – Neil’s men had 36 points and were back in 16th place. The gap between them and second place at the time was 18 points.
In Neil’s first campaign at the helm, Preston had 45 points from 29 games.
A 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest had carried them on to their points tally and up into ninth position. At the time they had nine points to make up on second spot.
In the 2016/17 season, Simon Grayson’s last in charge, North End had 41 points after 29 games and were in 10th place.
PNE’s focus is on the remaining 17 games, seven of which will be squashed into February.
The remainder of the fixture list is more evenly spaced and includes an international break at the end of March.
In 2017/18 when North End finished seventh, they got to 73 points and only missed out on the top six by two points.
Last May, PNE slipped back to a disappointing 14th place finish with 61 points.
They had been seventh in March but won only one of the last eight games.