PNE boss happy to use the full squad to achieve results

Tom Clarke celebrates scoring with Paul Gallagher and Darnell Fisher
Tom Clarke celebrates scoring with Paul Gallagher and Darnell Fisher

Alex Neil says he is happy to use the full range of his squad to get Preston pushing up the Championship.

The Lilywhites boss again turned to his bench to swing the game PNE’s way in their 2-1 win over Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.

With the game goalless at the hour mark, Daryl Horgan and Josh Harrop joined the action.

Horgan in particular made a big impact, his pace coming off the left-wing proving a big menace to the home defence.

After Tom Clarke had put North End in front in the 66th minute, Horgan stretched the lead seven minutes from time with his first goal since March.

Neil has stressed that it is a squad game at Preston and if changes need making, he will do so.

“Last week against Queens Park Rangers, I made two subs at half-time which weren’t easy decisions,” said Neil.

“In that one I took off Alan Browne who had played most of the games and the captain who was just returning.

“Thankfully the changes worked and we won the game so not a lot of criticism came my way.

“Equally on Saturday, I took off our top scorer Jordan Hugill when we needed a goal.

“Most people will have probably have been thinking ‘what is he doing’?

“The lads made it happen with their movement and quality, how they applied themselves was excellent.

“No player in our squad is untouchable, if it is the right decision in my opinion to take someone off, they will come off.

“The lads are respectful of that, they know I’m doing it for the right reason – the only reason I’m doing it is to try and win the game.”

Preston stayed in 10th place after the win, however the gap between them and sixth place was reduced to five points.

This was North End’s fifth game unbeaten, with them winning three of the last four.

Said Neil: “I think we are playing well at the moment.

“We’ve beaten Bristol City, drawn at Norwich, beaten QPR and now beaten Burton.

“There have been difficult challenges against some good teams but we have managed to win three out of the last four which is great.

“Hopefully we can take some good momentum into the festive period.

“When we had the difficult run we were missing a lot of players, especially at the back.

“Now that some of them are back, people are starting to see the true us.”

Neil thanked the PNE fans for their backing at Burton, more than 1,300 making the trip on top of the recent trips to Bristol City and Norwich.

Said Neil: “The support was fantastic and very vocal which gets through to the players and helps them.”