Preston North End boss Alex Neil believes his side deserve a bigger backing

Sean Maguire applauds the fans after scoring Preston's stoppage-time winner against Birmingham
Sean Maguire applauds the fans after scoring Preston's stoppage-time winner against Birmingham

Alex Neil says Preston’s charge for the play-offs is deserving of more support at home.

The Lilywhites’ 1-0 victory over Birmingham attracted the third-highest crowd of the season at Deepdale – 17,509.

That figure was swelled by 5,556 away supporters, which left a home attendance of 11,953.

Weather wise, it was a filthy afternoon with wind and rain throughout which could well have kept a few away.

However, PNE boss Neil pointed to his side’s form of the last two months which has seen them climb right into the play-off mix.

Only goal difference keeps them outside the top six and the gap between them and fifth-placed Middlesbrough is down to a single point.

Neil said: “I will be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the crowd. I didn’t think it was as big as it should have been. Birmingham brought quite a few with them.

“I think with how well this team is doing and what they have delivered – they have eight wins in 12 games – we deserve a few more.

“This was a day when we needed a bit of backing.

“I have seen the seats a lot fuller so it’s not as if the people aren’t out there.

“The people who were here backed us, they were vocal and gave us the support which we appreciated.

“Listen, people have their right to pick and choose when to come.

“But if there is ever a time to come and watch a Preston team that is doing well, this is probably it.”

PNE’s travelling support has been strong, with more than 7,500 watching the win at Blackburn.

All 2,737 tickets for Gentry Day at West Bromwich 
Albion next month were 
sold out in 24 hours over the weekend.

PNE left it very late to beat Birmingham, Sean Maguire heading the winner in the 94th minute.

They have won three games on the spin in the space of a week without being at their best, Neil’s men digging deep.

Said Neil: “Birmingham and Middlesbrough are two really tough teams to beat due to their defensive structure.

“If you beat them you have done okay – there hasn’t been a team this season which has really picked those two apart.

“Should you beat them, it tends to be a scrappy affair with you managing to nick a goal.

“We have resorted to that for the last two matches which is unlike us. We’ve done it with some key players missing, which has meant it is difficult to carve them open.

“What we have done is find a way to win and we are in 
good shape with what we’re doing.

“We can have a bit of a rest now, the lads can have some down-time and enjoy this.”