Alex Neil has the best kind of headache as Preston North End head to Swansea City
Alex Neil must narrow down his thinking when it comes to selecting Preston North End’s side to face Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow.
The PNE manager had the luxury of picking different XIs for the games against Wigan and Bradford, using the full range of the squad.
Both games were won in very decent style, Wigan seen off 3-0 and Bradford 4-0.
Of course the difference in the standard of those two sides will be in Neil’s thoughts ahead of the trip to Wales.
But there were players who played at Bradford who could suit the Swansea game.
Neil said: “It’s amazing what a couple of results can do, they have given everyone a lift and rightly so.
“We played really well to beat Wigan 3-0 and then went to Bradford with a different set of lads and won 4-0. They were two great games for us, we needed that, the club needed that and the fans needed to see that.
“People might think we won 4-0 at Bradford, that is the team which should play.
“Last weekend, though, the lads turned over a good Wigan side who had already beaten Cardiff, so it is about getting the balance right.”
In an attacking sense, the teams Neil put out in the two games varied in style.
So it might be a case of him combining aspects of the two in order to test Swansea.
Said Neil: “The two squads were a bit different in what they could do.
“In the team against Wigan there were a lot of technicians which worked very well.
“It could be that we have to add counter-attacking pace and directness to the team.”
Neil will have to disappoint several players tomorrow in terms of picking the team.
However, his message to them is to stay patient and more chances will come. Louis Moult is a player he holds up as a prime example, the striker not having even travelled to Millwall on the first day of the season.
But against Wigan he was plunged straight into the side and scored the second goal.
Neil said: “I think what is important is making sure all the lads know they have an equal opportunity of playing.
“Look at Louis Moult, he is probably a prime example.
“In the first game he wasn’t in the squad then last week he was great for us.
“Louis is the flag-bearer in terms of showing what you can if you get an opportunity.
“It says to the rest of the lads if you aren’t playing one week it doesn’t mean you won’t get a chance.”
Neil reported a relatively clean bill of health.
Andrew Hughes’ fitness was being monitored during the week after the left-back’s hamstring tightened late in the Wigan game.
Joe Rafferty operated at left-back at Bradford.