PNE in Numbers: Alex Neil’s happy travellers in need of another lift at Cardiff City

Thankfully for Preston North End, they are back on the road this weekend.

By Tom Sandells
Friday, 19th February 2021, 12:30 pm

Whatever it is about being at Deepdale, it just doesn’t work for the Lilywhites this season.

On their travels, however, they are amongst the most effective in the country. They added to that record by securing a Lancashire derby win over Blackburn Rovers on Friday night.

When returning to Deepdale, they suffered defeat.

Liam Lindsay (left) got the winner at Blackburn last Friday

In the top four leagues, since the start of last year, only three teams have a better record on their travels.

PNE sit level with Manchester City in joint third, racking up 12 away wins.

City’s Manchester rivals United are level with Brentford with one more. Top of the pile are this afternoon’s opposition Cardiff City.

PNE’s plight on home soil is a mystery to the manager and his staff, who are almost just waiting for the penny to drop or a little bit of fortune.

But it has been their away form that has undoubtedly carried their season. So far in this campaign, Brentford and Norwich City sit above this afternoon’s two teams in form on their travels, but there is little between the four.

North End often benefit form playing away from home as it matches up well to their style.

Alex Neil likes to press high and disrupt the opposition.

That plays into PNE’s hands on the road as teams will generally try to impose their own way rather than neutralising the visitors’.

North End have scored more than twice as many goals away from home than they have at Deepdale.

They have also been adaptable as they have gone about their work, last Friday being a good example as they switched to a three at the back system.

It will be interesting to see how they match up against Cardiff, who have been using a three-at-the-back system of their own since Mick McCarthy took charge. Against Watford the back three was abandoned to match up the Hornets, but that was at home.

PNE are obviously very reliant on their away form and should it begin to falter the picture for the rest of the season changes dramatically, and it does so quickly.

The message for today will simply be ‘more of the same’ please.