So far, so good says Preston North End boss Alex Neil

Billy Bodin is congratulated after scoring for PNE at Nottingham Forest
Billy Bodin is congratulated after scoring for PNE at Nottingham Forest

Preston manager Alex Neil has expressed himself happy enough with results during the first month of the season.

The Lilywhites head into the September international break with 10 points from six Championship games.

That solid start, including progress to the third round of the League Cup where they will meet Manchester City, has been made despite being without some key players due to injury.

Sean Maguire is the latest to have joined the casualty list having suffered an eye injury in freak circumstances in a training session last week.

Maguire was one of seven players to miss Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Billy Bodin gave North End the lead before half-time, the hosts equalising 10 minutes from time. Neil said: “I think we should be happy with what we have done so far, we’ve had three wins – five if you include the cup.

“We went to Forest and drew, which was our first point on the board away from home but we should have won it.

“I thought we played very well in the first half at Swansea a couple of weeks back and at Millwall on the first day had better chances than them.

“If we were going to places, getting turned over and teams were better than us, I would start to worry – I haven’t seen any signs of that whatsoever.

“We have been stretched as well during this period and there are still things we have to improve on in certain areas.

“But when you bear in mind we’ve had lads slotting into different positions and playing out of position, doing a job for the team, they have done great.”

Neil felt being without the services of Barkhuizen and Maguire at Forest, hindered North End. “It was disappointing not to have players available which would have allowed us to get the ball higher up the pitch and in behind,” said Neil.

“Against Stoke the other week we got 2-0 up and then were able to use pace to turn them and get a third goal.

“We are well versed at that but we didn’t have the players available on Saturday.

“Sean’s injury is probably one of the most bizarre I have seen.

“He hit a shot in training which rebounded off two different players and hit him in the face – it has hit his eye.

“What has happened is that he has got a bleed on the eye and the pressure in the eye on that side is double what it is in the other.

“It is quite dangerous and we had to remove him from the plans for Forest.

“Sean is our outlet, our pace, the guy who can get in behind when teams try and lock you in. It’s a significant injury and we just hope his eye gets better quickly.”