PNE boss Alex Neil insists latest bans are simply par for the course

Preston boss Alex Neil does not want his side to change their ways despite being without two key players through suspension for today’s clash with leaders Wolves.

Both Ben Pearson, serving the second match of a two-game ban, and Greg Cunningham – unavailable after his red card at Brentford – will sit out the game against the 
champions-elect at Deepdale.

Ben Pearson completes his latest ban when he sits out the clash with Wolves today

Ben Pearson completes his latest ban when he sits out the clash with Wolves today

But the PNE boss believes it is par for the course for a side who do not like to make life easy for the opposition.

North End are second in the Championship disciplinary table behind Leeds with 76 yellow cards and three reds, with their manager insisting his side do not go over the top.

“We play on the edge,” said Neil.

“We play right up against people and we don’t make it comfortable for them and because of that we’ve picked up a lot of cheap bookings at times.

“That’s been a bit frustrating and we’re getting to the stage now where people are going to be picking up bans and things like that.

“By no means are we a dirty team, I can’t think of too many bad tackles we’ve dished out.

“If there had been, certainly with the way the game is now, there would be more red cards.

“A good tackle nowadays seems to merit a yellow card sometimes.”

Brentford were not impressed with North End’s approach in the 1-1 draw at Griffin Park last Saturday, with referee Simon Hooper ultimately sending Cunningham off for two bookings in the space of 70 seconds.

“When you go and play these types of teams that want to keep the ball and move the ball, they want to play a non-contact sport,” Neil said.

“What we’ve got to remember is football is a contact sport. We want to disrupt their game as much as possible and then force our style of play on them.

“If that means we pick up a couple of suspensions because of that then that’s a price I’m willing to pay.”

With his side three points shy of the play-off places in seventh, Neil believes a decent balance is being struck between physicality and creativity and now wants to see a little more sharpness in the final third after 13 draws in 31 league games.

“I’ve looked at the stats and we’re top of the league for attacks per game,” the Scot said.

“There’s not a shortage of balls going forwards and we’re getting into good areas.

“I think we’re fifth in the league for shots on goal too.

“If you look at those stats it doesn’t suggest we’re a defensive team by any means.

“It maybe just means that when we get in there, it’s the quality we hit the target with and making sure those crucial moments count.”