Preston North End boss Alex Neil says there’s nothing to fear against Stoke City tonight
Alex Neil has urged his Preston players to ignore the many pound signs attached to several of the players in Stoke City’s squad.
The two teams clash at Deepdale in the Championship this evening – and on paper, it appears something of a mismatch.
The Potters squad is expensively assembled – a stark contrast to North End’s somewhat bargain-basement acquisitions.
In midfielder Joe Allen, Stoke have a player who has been sold for combined fees approaching £30m during his career, while Sam Clucas, Sam Vokes, Scott Hogan and Tom Ince have all commanded multi-million pound transfer fees.
But as Neil knows only too well, the Championship is not played on paper, which is borne out by the fact that Stoke currently find themselves at the foot of the table.
They have failed to pick up a single victory in their first three league games of the new campaign, drawing one and losing two.
North End are well versed at coming up against teams who have far greater financial resources than themselves and Neil expect his players to be more than a match for Nathan Jones’ men.
“It does show what this club is up against, but to be honest nobody really cares,” said Neil.
“There’s still the same willingness to win, expectation in terms of going and competing and that’s the way we like it.
“Listen, we played Stoke last year and played them off the pitch, so if we play well, we are more than capable of beating Stoke.
“We are not scared of any team in the division. We know what they will bring and normally we can match any of them, but we have got to make sure we play well.”
Neil believes his men should take confidence into the match by virtue of their performances so far this season, which have been good on the whole.
Having only garnered three points from their opening three league games, the boss is firmly of the belief that his players have not got exactly what they have deserved.
And the fact that North End enjoyed a terrific 3-0 victory over Wigan Athletic the last time out at Deepdale, should be good for team spirit.
“I hope the lads go out having played well for the last three league games believing that they can give a similar kind of performance and hopefully match it up with a good result,” he said.
Meanwhile, striker Louis Moult is still awaiting news on the extent of his knee injury.
The forward, who was stretchered off during the 3-2 loss at Swansea City, underwent a scan on Monday afternoon.