Money is not an issue for PNE boss Alex Neil

Preston North End manager Alex Neil says his background in Scottish football means he takes little notice of talk of budgets and finance.

Cash is never far away from the conversation in football, with managers often keen to compare budgets.

PNE boss Alex Neil takes a ball boy role against Norwich

PNE boss Alex Neil takes a ball boy role against Norwich

Neil is reluctant to go down that road though, as he looks to keep North End’s slim hopes of making the play-offs alive.

He wants PNE’s push at the top end of the table to be recognised by what has been done on the pitch rather than turn into a debate about how much cash has been spent by clubs around them.

“In Scotland we don’t talk about budgets because most clubs haven’t got any money,” said Neil, whose first job as a manager was at Hamilton.

“Celtic and Rangers have budgets, everyone else signs free transfers and kids.

“I think money pollutes football down here.

“Here at Preston I have a bunch of really honest and hard-working players and I love working with them.

“Whether someone earns £200 or £200,000, doesn’t make a difference to me.

“They come in every day and train really well.

“We are where we are in the on merit, whether we have a big budget or a small one.

“I want to get further up the table and I’m trying to do that by what we do on the pitch and the training ground.”

Neil has not given up on the play-offs despite Saturday’s goalless draw with Norwich dealing North End’s hopes a set-back.

They head to Bramall Lane this weekend to face Sheffield United in what is a must-win game for both clubs.

A victory would take their interest in the top-six into the final day of the season.

Neil, who led Hamilton and Norwich to promotion through the play-offs, said: “We will prepare well for the next game and I do look to try and take the pressure off the players.

“But games sway on minor details – you take a chance and the game changes.

“We hit the bar with Paul Gallagher’s free-kick against Norwich, if that had been an inch or so lower, the game changes in our favour.

“They are the margins we are working within and you always need the rub of the green.

“We go again at Sheffield United and there is the chance for someone to be a hero.

“What we have to do there is take care of ourselves and not be thinking about getting favours from elsewhere, that is our focus.”