Preston North End boss Alex Neil admits his ‘concern’ at recent slump in results ahead of Blackburn Rovers trip

Lilywhites boss Alex Neil
Lilywhites boss Alex Neil

Alex Neil hopes Preston’s derby clash with Blackburn this weekend can get their fortunes back on track after a post-Christmas dip in form.

The Lilywhites manager admits losing three home games on the spin in league and cup is a ‘concern’ but says sight should not be lost of the fact the defeats followed such a good display at Leeds.

Now Neil is targeting a return to form in Saturday’s clash at Ewood Park where they will be backed by a big travelling support.

Neil said: “We have not picked up the results we have wanted lately, there is no shying away from it.

“What we need to do is go to Blackburn this weekend and get a good result.

“Two league games ago we played Leeds and were really buzzing about how we played, we were so close to winning. I think it’s important we don’t forget about that.

“Things can change really quickly and we need to get our momentum back.

“We are four points off third place, two points outside the play-off places.

“A couple of results can change things completely.

“Naturally our form is a concern and not good. We want to try and turn it around.”

PNE had put together a four-game unbeaten run from mid-December – beating Fulham and Luton – then drawing at Cardiff and Leeds.

The return to Deepdale which Neil was banking on to bring a healthy return of points, has not gone to plan.

They were beaten 2-0 by Reading a week last Sunday and then by the same scoreline by Middlesbrough on New Year’s Day.

Norwich knocked them out of the FA Cup at the third-round stage, winning 4-2.

Said Neil: “It is important we don’t linger too long on the recent results. Good or bad, you have to move quickly on to the next one.

“We don’t sit there and 
talk about a win all week , so why should we do it when we lose?”

Blackburn too have lost their last three games, exiting the FA Cup to Birmingham last Saturday.

Before that, they drew two home games on the bounce.

Neil said: “We’ll be going there to try and win.

“We have a good record against Blackburn but I don’t think we played that well in the last two games against them. In the second half at our place we did a lot better.

“Blackburn have lost Bradley Dack, which is a big blow to them.”

While the majority of the nine changes Neil made for the Norwich game were voluntary, he was without some of his squad through illness.

Patrick Bauer and Paul Huntington were two who were on the sick list, with Tom Clarke an unused sub after being ill late last week.