PNE boss Neil happy to have break from action

North End manager Alex Neil pictured during the defeat by Fulham on Saturday
North End manager Alex Neil pictured during the defeat by Fulham on Saturday

Alex Neil has welcomed the clear midweek as he prepares his Preston squad for the visit to Sunderland.

The Lilywhites head to the Stadium of Light for the first time in more than a decade looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Fulham.

After three high energy performances in the space of a week, PNE boss Neil is glad of a break in the intensity.

Neil told the Post: “We are very intense in our play, we get through a lot of running in a game.

“What we do is burst the lads open in terms of how much energy they use in a game.

“When there is a bit of gap between games, you can bring them off it for a couple of days and let them recover.

“During the week we will bring them back up and get them ready for Sunderland on Saturday.

“Last week we played three games and got two wins.

“I would argue that we played better on Saturday then we did in the two games we won.

“Sometimes you need a kick where it hurts like we got against Fulham and use that as motivation for the rest of the season.”

A couple of days’ break for Sean Maguire will not do him any harm after a busy return from injury.

Maguire featured in all three games last week – twice from the bench and then starting against Fulham.

He scored four goals in his 133 minutes on the pitch and is now up to eight this season.

The Irish frontman was slightly ahead of schedule in his return to action and for him to have got through 83 minutes on Saturday was a major boost.

Neil admitted he was very reluctant to take Maguire off so not to halt the momentum Preston had in the game but he felt the striker was tiring which could have put him at risk of injury.