Boss Alex Neil reveals secret of Preston North End’s success

Alex Neil thinks the similar ability levels of players in the Preston squad have helped them overcome early-season injuries and make a strong start to the campaign.
Alex Neil has been delighted by his side's start to the seasonAlex Neil has been delighted by his side's start to the season
Alex Neil has been delighted by his side's start to the season

The Lilywhites sit fifth in the Championship table after seven games and can boast a 100% record at Deepdale.

Injuries have hit key players in the first six weeks of the season but Neil has managed to cover them with a bit of imagination and asking some players to play out of position.

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What has been a big help is that there aren’t huge differing levels within the squad.

Neil said: “There is not a lot between the group, from one to 22, they are at a similar level which helps.

People are never far away from being involved.

“Before his injury Louis Moult went from being out of the squad one week to starting the next game.

“Josh Harrop has done the same, Ryan Ledson stepped in and replaced Ben Pearson on Saturday.

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“It is really difficult for me to pick the team each week as everyone is pushing for a place and deserve to be involved.

“I have been picking a team on how we are going to play and what trait I think we need to win it.

“The team can change quite a lot, the nature of the squad allows me to do that.

“What we do in training sessions is flip the players.

“If we work on a certain type of system, we will run through it with a team and then change three or four of the players and do it again.

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“Then we will be flip it again, give another three or four the chance to slot in and be in the areas we want them to be in.

“Doing that, everyone has an understanding of what we need from them.

“We have a young squad who absorb the information we give them very well.

“The senior players are great with the young lads, they will help them on the pitch, correct things if needed.

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“They are a proper group they fight for each other, they are great lads and no one gets above their station.”

Neil has been pleased with the start to the season and PNE head to Birmingham on Saturday looking to maintain the good form.

“After beating Brentford, I think the start has surpassed expectations,” said Neil.

“If we hadn’t have won it probably wouldn’t have, that is how tight it is because we have played limited games.

“Compared to last season it is certainly a fantastic start.”