Preston North End boss Alex Neil says contract discussions fuelled his belief that PNE can challenge for the top six next season

Callum Robinson fires Preston in front against Ipswich
Callum Robinson fires Preston in front against Ipswich

Alex Neil is strong in his belief that Preston North End can push for the top six next season, encouraged by the discussions he had when agreeing his new contract.

Speaking after PNE's 4-0 win over Ipswich Town at Deepdale on Good Friday, Neil cast his mind forward to the summer and what might happen on the recruitment front.

Callum Robinson takes instructions from PNE manager Alex Neil in the 4-0 win against Ipswich

Callum Robinson takes instructions from PNE manager Alex Neil in the 4-0 win against Ipswich

Neil said: "The owner has been supporting this club for a number of years but if we want to try and get to our aspirations and get up the league and really challenge for the top six then we need to go and try to improve the squad and give ourselves the best opportunity.

"There were a lot of discussions that went on prior to me agreeing a deal to stay but they will stay private and confidential as they should.

"I wouldn't be here trying my best if I didn't think we had a real good chance of going up.

"I believe in this squad of players and if we can give them a bit of help, a bit of experience to make sure we can see ourselves over the line and go to really difficult venues at crucial times of the season like last week and pick up points, then there is absolutely no reason why we can't push on."

A big part of the summer will be holding on to the key players in the squad.

Neil says that has to be a two-way thing, with the players wanting to stay, but he seems confident every effort will be made for that to happen.

The North End boss said: "That becomes a little bit more complex because it is not just a one-way street, they have got to want to stay as well.

"However, I am entirely confident that we will do our utmost to keep our best players because it is fundamental for us going forward."