Hunger can keep Preston North End on track says boss Alex Neil

Preston boss Alex Neil gives out instructions in the recent game at Middlesbrough
Preston boss Alex Neil gives out instructions in the recent game at Middlesbrough

Alex Neil says the blueprint for Preston maintaining their good form will be to remain ‘hungry’ rather than getting ahead of themselves.

PNE are unbeaten in eight league games and itching for a return to action following the international break.

On Saturday they travel to the Madejski Stadium to play Reading, before back-to-back home games against Leeds and Blackburn.

Before the last game, which ended in a 5-1 victory over Barnsley, Neil warned against being ‘giddy’ over how things were progressing.

The North End boss has stressed again the need for level heads, both on and off the pitch.

Neil said: “All I tried to do before the Barnsley game was put the lid on things, just keep things on a level.

“Our supporters were able to enjoy that win, they were rightly buzzing.

“In football you can get a bit ahead of yourself and that can turn round and kick you right where it hurts – I don’t want that to happen.

“I want us to be hungry for the next game and then the one after that and so on.

“That is so important and the key to getting promoted.

“Every place you go and play, regardless of who you are playing or the conditions, your hunger and desire need to be at optimum levels.

“If they aren’t at the right levels, you will get beaten and I want to guard against that.”

Neil acknowledges that things are not going to run smoothly all the time.

The Championship is a tough beast in terms of its schedule and quality.

Putting a good run together of a decent length takes a big effort.

“You will get some results across the season that won’t be great,” said Neil.

“What we don’t want is to swing from one reaction to another.

“At times things will dip but we have to make sure we stay the course.

“We are not going to win or lose anything in the course of a couple of games.”

Neil has used the gap in the fixture list to get his squad ready for the block of five games coming up prior to the November break.

He has only had Republic of Ireland pair Alan Browne and Sean Maguire away on international duty, so has been able to work with the bulk of his players.

The squad had a couple of days off at the start of the break before reporting back for training in the middle of last week.

Some of them took part in a behind-closed-doors game at the training ground against Accrington, including Billy Bodin and Andrew Hughes who had been out injured.

This week it has been the normal schedule, building up to the Reading game.