Alex Neil targets more points on Preston North End’s travels – starting at Derby County

Preston manager Alex Neil
Preston manager Alex Neil

Alex Neil hopes Preston’s away form can be given a big boost over the next few days to keep them in the Championship’s upper reaches.

PNE travel to Derby County tomorrow (3pm) and are back on the road on Wednesday to face Hull City.

It is their form at Deepdale which has in the main pushed them into early promotion contention.

However, North End’s win at Charlton in their last away game briefly sent them top of the table and Neil thinks there is plenty more to come from his side on their travels.

Lilywhites manager Neil said: “I like to believe that good performances yield good results but sometimes in this league it isn’t always the case.

“A case in point was earlier in the season when we didn’t get what we deserved a couple of times. At Swansea in the first half we played some of our best football of the season and lost.

“In the first half at Nottingham Forest we were excellent but only got a point.

“The season previous we struck a great balance away from home, we were robust, big, quick and strong.

“I think in recent weeks we have taken a less technical approach away from home and it has yielded results.

“The two games we have won away were both one-nil but at Charlton the win should have been by more.

“We could have scored three or four goals, we had the chances to do that.

“Whether we score one, two, three or four, I just want us to win games.”

Having had a few players missing for the 3-1 win against Huddersfield ahead of the international break, Neil should have a few more bodies available to him.

Ben Pearson returns after a one-match ban and Josh Harrop has been back training this week after a month out with a hamstring injury.

Daniel Johnson missed the Huddersfield game with a trapped nerve in his foot and will be assessed.

Several of the first-team squad featured in a bounce game at Burnley on Tuesday to sharpen their fitness in case they are called on during the busy schedule ahead.

Said Neil: “We are looking in good shape, I would think the majority of players will be back.

“Josh Harrop has been training this week, he started on Monday and we will see how he is in the last part of the week.”

Neil acknowledges this is a key spell of games, with the two away games followed by a Deepdale clash with West Bromwich Albion.

“It’s the snowball effect, it’s going to get bigger and bigger as the season goes on regardless of results,” he said.

“If results are positive they become more important to make sure we stay there.”