City is buzzing says Preston North End boss Alex Neil ahead of Nottingham Forest trip
Boss Alex Neil is hoping a big week for Preston will be capped by victory over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground tomorrow.
North End propelled themselves into the Championship play-off positions on Saturday when they defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at Deepdale – their third successive league win at home.
Then on Tuesday night, a much-changed PNE line-up defeated Hull City via a penalty shootout in the second round of the League Cup after the match had ended 2-2.
North End’s reward was being paired with Premier League champions Manchester City at home in the third round – a tie which is scheduled to be played on either September 24 or 25.
Neil admits the successes they have had on the pitch, coupled with the fact that Pep Guardiola’s City are due in town shortly, has created a real buzz around the city.
“I was home when the draw was made,” said Neil. “I was actually making a cup of tea when my wife shouted in.
“I actually thought she was taking the mick.
“I always think the cup draw – you want one or the other.
“You want as big as you can possibly get or as small as you can possibly get, to give you the best possible chance of getting through.
“I don’t think you get any bigger at this point in time than Manchester City.
“But it has been a really good week. Everybody is in a really good place.
“We have got a really big game against Forest tomorrow and what we don’t want is to have all that positivity but then go there on Saturday and not deliver and play well.
“All in all, I think the cup draw is naturally a positive and gives people a buzz, gets people talking about it. It’s great exposure for the players as well, which is great.”
Meanwhile, Neil revealed that Tom Barkhuizen was due to have a scan on his injured groin yesterday.
The 24-year-old forward was substituted at half-time on Tuesday, which was a blow for Neil as he was playing particularly well in that match and was certainly in contention to start tomorrow.
Neil said: “Tom is always in mind when we are picking a starting XI because he has been very good for us for the last couple of seasons.
“I think he has had a very good affect on some of the games we have played recently.
“It’s disappointing from his point of view that he had to go off and disappointing that he might not make the next game.”
Neil said that striker David Nugent and Tom Clarke remain a long way off a first-team call-up due to injury and doubts remain over left-back Andrew Hughes.