Alex Neil will give Preston North End’s fringe players an opportunity in Hull City cup tie
Preston boss Alex Neil hinted that players on the fringes of the first-team squad will be given the chance to impress once again this evening.
North End welcome fellow Championship outfit Hull City to Deepdale in the second round of the League Cup.
Neil certainly rang the changes in the first round of the competition against Bradford City – making 11 changes to the side which took the field against Wigan Athletic in the league four days earlier.
The men who came in certainly did not disappoint as they cruised past the Bantams, winning 4-0 at Valley Parade.
There was already every possibility that Neil would use the game against the Tigers to hand much needed game time to players in the squad, who found their minutes on the pitch limited over the few weeks of the season. However, the fact that North End have played three games in eight days means many members of his squad need some rest.
Neil said: “The lads are in good spirits, they are confident and we have another set of lads who will be hungry to play, who did play well at Bradford and I am sure a lot of them will be looking for an opportunity.
“We have played three games in a week, which at this level is some going. Not only that, but Saturday’s game was played in 25 degree heat, so it really takes a lot out of the players.
“I know it is the same for every team, so there are no complaints from us, but it is important – like we did on Saturday – to freshen a few up.”
Striker Sean Maguire was arguably North End’s man-of-the-match on Saturday during the 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the league at home.
The diminutive Irishman was given an enforced rest three days earlier for the match against Stoke City due to concussion and returned for the visit of the Owls feeling fresh.
He gave the Wednesday defence, particularly Moses Odubajo, a torrid time and won both penalties, which were converted by Daniel Johnson.
Neil added: “It was no surprise to me that one of the fresh players was key, in Sean.
“We will need to freshen it up again, a few of the lads will want an opportunity and it will be good to see them get a chance.”
Neil expects Hull – who have only won one of their opening five league games – to make changes
“What we will do is cast a glance over what they have tended to do as a group, because generally, even though they are changing personnel, their strategy will stay the same.
“We’ll cast a glance to what they do, but we will mainly focus on how we want to play.”