PNE boss Neil wants action replay of second-half showing at Birmingham

Darnell Fisher will be hoping to return to the PNE side after a groin injury
Darnell Fisher will be hoping to return to the PNE side after a groin injury
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Alex Neil wants to see a good level of consistency from his Preston side in order to carry forward their strong start to the season.

North End host Millwall at Deepdale tomorrow (3pm) as they look for a third victory on the bounce and a sixth game unbeaten.

The recent run suggests consistency is being found, that said Neil did point out that standards dropped during the first half of last week’s win at Birmingham.

Neil said: “The test is to try and reach a good level week in, week out – consistency is the key.

“The difference between being a good player and a great player is that a good player plays well once every three or four games.

“A great player plays well most games – tired displays are few and far between.

“It is the same as being a good team or better than that.

“When you are a good team you raise your game for a match here or there. For me, that is mediocre.

“If you can play well most weeks, that makes you able to achieve things – winning cups and winning promotions.”

Although critical of the first-half display last week, Neil was delighted with what PNE produced after the break in order to turn the contest in their favour.

They blew Birmingham away with three goals in 11 minutes.

Said Neil: “In a game there are certain parameters that we should be meeting.

“Those weren’t met in the first half last week, which was disappointing.

“I didn’t think Birmingham were great in the first half but I was disappointed by us, we were below par, whereas in the second half, we went to the top end of our game.

“For 20 minutes in and around scoring the goals, we played exceptionally well. We picked up every ball, 
sustained attacks, set up well behind the ball.

“Our forward players were really lively and direct, they caused Birmingham all kinds of problems.

“For us to try and win each and every game we play in, we need to do certain things.

“Sometimes you need that bit of quality on the day to win these games and thankfully we have got that quality in the team.”

North End will assess the fitness of Darnell Fisher ahead of Millwall’s visit.

A groin injury kept him out of the Birmingham game, with Calum Woods standing in for him at right-back.

Ben Pearson’s absence is set to stretch to a fourth game, while illness again sidelines Paul Gallagher.

Neil said: “These last few weeks we have been stretched pretty thin by injuries to key players and the sooner we can get people back, the better it will be for competition.”