Preston North End manager Alex Neil hits his century

Preston manager Alex Neil
Preston manager Alex Neil

The century came up for Preston North End manager Alex Neil in last week’s visit to Birmingham City.

It was the Scotsman’s 100th Championship game in charge of the Lilywhites and they marked the occasion with a 1-0 win at St Andrew’s.

Victory was the 40th which Neil had overseen in league action, Sean Maguire’s goal delivering the three points in the West Midlands.

Neil’s record in the league since taking over from Simon Grayson in July 2017 is won 40, drawn 30 and lost 30.

The 38-year-old was not aware the Birmingham game was a landmark one but he thinks North End have made progress under him.

Neil said: “I don’t count the games so I didn’t know. A lot of things have changed here over the last couple of years.

“Last season it was the youngest Preston squad for quite a few years.

“We’d gone for a number of young players so we could try and develop them.

“This year we have added Patrick Bauer who has a bit more experience, to give us a hand.

“It is good to have so many young players but unless you have a spine of experienced players, it can be tough going.

“The best thing to do is have a solid spine and then dot the kids around them.

“I think we have some big improvements in the players at Preston.

“Daniel Johnson has been a big improvement this year, Josh Harrop has been very good this season.

“Tom Barkhuizen has adapted well to the new role he’s had of late.

“Ben Davies has come on again, while I think Ryan Ledson has improved a great deal this season.

“We want to see that kind of progression so that we can move the club forward.”