Preston boss Alex Neil not interested in Championship table

Alex Neil is not taking too much notice of the fact that his Preston team moved into the Championship’s top six at the weekend.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 26th August 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 26th August 2019, 7:00 am
Preston North End's Daniel Johnson (Ctr) celebrates with team-mates after scoring his side's second goal from the penalty spot
Preston North End's Daniel Johnson (Ctr) celebrates with team-mates after scoring his side's second goal from the penalty spot

Two penalty conversions from Daniel Johnson gave North End a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale.

The result meant PNE have now registered three wins out of three at home in the league and they moved above Wednesday into the play-off spots.

However, after only five games of the season, Neil insisted he is paying no attention to the early league table.

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But did say he has been impressed with the way his side have performed the last couple of games

“I think the aim is to win the next game,” said Neil, who watched his team beat Stoke City at Deepdale on Wednesday night. I am not naive enough to start making predictions and wild statements.

“But I think our set-up has been very good the last two games.

“We have changed and been very different in how we have played and we have won both games.

“I think the players deserve a hell of lot of credit.”

Neil made four changes from the side that beat Stoke for the visit of the Owls.

One of them was enforced with Darnell Fisher coming in for the injured Tom Clarke and Neil opted to bring in Sean Maguire, Jayden Stockley and Alan Browne for Tom Barkhuizen, Josh Harrop and Paul Gallagher.

“Playing Tom Barkhuizen up front was an ace up my sleeve,” Neil said. “But I think if you keep playing that ace, you’re going to get found out and it’s easier to stop.

“I think Wednesday will have watched that and come up with a certain style of how they were going to stop that so we threw something different at them.

“Josh Harrop obviously played his first game in a year, so it wasn’t anything to do with form – I thought he played very well.

“Equally Tom Barkhuizen was effective too.

“I have said this a few times that it’s horses for courses really in terms of who I thought was going to be the most effective for us to go and win the game.”

Neil revealed that Clarke could be out for sometime after he came off in the first half against Stoke with a knee injury.

However, he is hopeful that fellow defender Patrick Bauer, who picked up a knock against the Owls, could be fit for the visit of Hull City tomorrow night in the Carabao Cup

“I think Clarkey is going to be missing for a little bit which is a disappointment obviously,” Neil said.

“I think Patrick’s is nothing too serious. He was saying his hip flexor is a little sore.”