Preston boss Alex Neil is looking forward to pitting his wits against Leeds boss
Preston boss Alex Neil is full of respect for the job Marcelo Bielsa has done at Leeds but hopes to be able to put one over on him at Deepdale this evening.
Neil rates the Yorkshire side as the most impressive in the Championship even though they sit outside of the automatic promotion slots.
And he regards PNE’s 3-0 defeat at Elland Road seven months ago as the one time his outfit have been totally outplayed this season.
Yet three weeks before that loss, Neil’s men had won 2-0 there in the Carabao Cup.
Neil said: “With me being Scottish and him coming from Argentina, he is not the most talkative when we have met.
“But he is very respectful of us and I think he understands the methods we try and the way we do things.
“Leeds are not dissimilar to ourselves in the way they want to play.
“What we did in the first game against them was to blitz them for 30 minutes and we did that against Norwich too.
“In the second game, I don’t know if he’d had his spies in the bushes, but he certainly did his homework on us.
“He picked up on all our weaknesses and exploited them.
“I’ve got my work cut out to make sure we give ourselves the best possible chance of getting a result in this one.”
Leeds come to Lancashire in third place, their defeat at Birmingham seeing them overtaken by Sheffield United who won at PNE.
Neil said: “Leeds have been the most impressive team in the league for me and that’s not taking anything away from Norwich or Sheffield United who have been excellent.
“But in terms of the way I like to see my teams play, I think Leeds are all that.
“They are probably the closest team to us in terms of how they play, they have been excellent.
“The fact Bielsa has come over and can’t speak English, to get them playing in the manner they do is remarkable.
“They lock on to you, don’t give you space to play, they are very aggressive in their first movement.
“Leeds are probably the one team this season to have completely outplayed us when we lost 3-0 at their place.”
On the fitness front, PNE will assess Daniel Johnson who missed Saturday’s game with an Achilles injury.
Neil is happy enough with what he is seeing from Callum Robinson who is being eased back into action after four months out.
“Callum’s doing fine, he has played in bounce games and got the first half at Reading,” said Neil.
“He got 55 minutes or so at the weekend and he has been well managed.
“We know what we want to get out of him and we are not going to push him.”