The sixth-placed Robins are a team PNE have in their sights as they attempt to make a late run for the play-offs.
Throw into the mix the fact City have two ex-North End players in Josh Brownhill and Bailey Wright, it all makes for an intriguing clash.
Neil said: “Bristol City are quite similar to ourselves in terms of having a lot of good young players.
“That is what they go for, guys who they think are on the up and aren’t necessarily household names.
“They try to improve them and have a good manner of how they try to play.
“Bristol City have a good stadium and is a nice part of the country, so they have a lot going for them.
“I think they will be pleased with their season so far.
“They have shown that they can put a run of results together.”
Neil and Peter Ridsdale made the journey to the West Country on Tuesday night to run the rule over City’s 2-1 home defeat to Birmingham.
It was a third loss on the bounce for Lee Johnson’s men, having been beaten 3-2 last week at Norwich and 1-0 by Wolves in the FA Cup the Sunday before.
But before that, City had won nine games on the bounce, an impressive record to say the least.
Seven of those were in the Championship, a sequence which propelled them into play-off contention.
City head coach Johnson was consigned to the stand by a one-match touchline ban for the Birmingham defeat.
Reflecting on what he had seen from up high, Johnson said: “The first half wasn’t good enough and we played into their hands.
“I thought physically they were better than us, they dominated the game without the ball and not often that phrase is used.
“In the second half we gave it a go but the second goal was disappointing.
“We now go back to the drawing board to muster up a good performance against Preston.
“Confidence isn’t something we will go into the game with but we will take full belief in the basics.”
Wright and Brownhill will be able to direct the City team bus to Deepdale having both spent a number of years as North End players.
Midfielder Brownhill is in his third campaign with the Robins, having joined them in the summer of 2016.
He had turned down a new contract at Preston, having been out on loan at Barnsley, with him moving for youth compensation.
Brownhill, 23, has made 119 appearances for City and is a regular in their midfielder.
Wright made the same move in January 2017, North End deciding to sell with the Australian’s contract having entered its last six months.
Injury saw him miss the first half of this season, with his first slice of action only coming on New Year’s Day.
He was an unused sub in midweek.