Preston North End in Numbers: Alex Neil banking on return to home comforts

Ben Davies (right) celebrates scoring against Norwich last season
Ben Davies (right) celebrates scoring against Norwich last season

Back-to-back defeats at Deepdale have been few and far between in Alex Neil’s time as Preston North End manager.

The Lilywhites have been licking their wounds this week after Reading and Middlesbrough left town with 2-0 wins.

Only three other times has that happened in the Championship since Neil took charge in July 2017.

In the autumn of 2017, North End were beaten twice at home in the space of five days by Brentford (3-2) and Aston Villa (2-0).

Last season, Reading and West Bromwich Albion got the better of North End in successive home games.

It was something Sheffield United and Leeds did later in the campaign.

Until last month, PNE’s strong season had been built on their home form.

They weren’t beaten at Deepdale in the league until West Bromwich did so on December 2 – aided by a shocker of a penalty decision.

North End responded with back-to-back home wins against Fulham and Luton but then came the double slip in the last game of 2019 and the first of 2020.

Neil will be looking to repair the home form starting against Norwich in the FA Cup.

This will be the fifth time the Scotsman has faced his former employers as PNE manager.

In 2017/18, North End and the Canaries drew 1-1 at Carrow Road and 0-0 at Deepdale.

Last season, Norwich won 2-0 in East Anglia but PNE turned in a fine performance to beat them 3-1 at home in February.

Ben Davies, Paul Gallagher and Sean Maguire were on target, with Declan Rudd saving a penalty.