Preston boss Alex Neil expecting Championship to be as tough as ever

North End manager Alex Neil
North End manager Alex Neil

Preston boss Alex Neil thinks the Championship will be as tough as usual next season whoever is dropping into it or coming up.

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West Bromwich, Stoke City and Swansea City have come down, all after lengthy spells in the Premier League.

Wigan and Blackburn have been promoted from League One, with the play-offs to come at the end of the month.

Neil said: “We do this every year, is it stronger, weaker or whatever? I think the Championship is the Championship.

“What I mean by that is on any given day, wherever you go, whether you play top, middle or bottom, if you play well you win, if you’re not quite at it, you will lose.

“It is as simple as that.

“All the games are very different for very different reasons.

“I’m a big believer that the team is more important than any one individual.

“I don’t think because you sign all the best players, it makes the best team.

“If you get a really cohesive unit which works its socks off and does all the right things, it takes you a long way.

“You might lack a bit of quality and flair on occasions but in the main you get through.”

At first glance, none of the three relegated teams look to be at the same strength as for example Newcastle United were two seasons ago. All will lose key players and look in need of a rebuild, while managerial changes could well be in the offing.

Darren Moore impressed as interim boss at Albion in the closing weeks of the season but Brentford’s Dean Smith has been strongly linked.

After being handed the reins at Stoke, Paul Lambert could not keep the Potters up and is believed to have a break clause in his contract.

Carlos Carvalhal initially had an impact at Swansea but they did not win any of their last nine games.

PNE last played Swansea in 2011, West Bromwich in 2010 and Stoke in 2008.