Preston boss Alex Neil wants stronger form at Deepdale in 2018/19

Preston striker Sean Maguire finished the season with 10 goals
Preston striker Sean Maguire finished the season with 10 goals

A major focus for Alex Neil in the summer will be looking at ways of bolstering Preston’s fortunes on home turf.

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The Lilywhites took three more points on the road than they did at Deepdale this season.

Their 10 away victories were bettered only by the top three in the Championship, with fourth-placed Aston Villa finishing on the same number.

But only seven clubs won fewer home matches than Neil’s men did.

PNE boss Neil thinks there are a few reasons behind those statistics and will be working to improve the home results, while maintaining the away form which was impressive to say the least.

Neil told the Post: “Our away record was excellent, we found a great solution to that.

“I don’t think we found the perfect solution at home and that is something we will be trying to find.

“I think experience is going to be key.

“If you look at the make-up of our team, the majority of the younger players are at the top end of the pitch, whereas if you look at the majority of 
the top six, a lot of their centre-forwards are a lot older.

“They have been there, done the course, know what the script is – they have proven that year in, year out, that they can score goals at this level.

“We are at the stage where we are still trying to find that.

“We’ve had a lot of really good performances but a lot of them have had their first year playing at this level.

“Next season we are hoping they will improve and we want to try and add to that.”

Another striker will be on the summer shopping list to add to Neil’s options up front.

Sean Maguire finished as PNE’s joint top scorer with 10 goals – Jordan Hugill scoring that many before his sale. 
Louis Moult took time to settle after his January move but will have taken heart from a 
last-day goal against Burton.

Callum Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen also played up front during the campaign.

Neil will want them all to be more ruthless next season.

“There is an onus on the home team, hence why they are more aggressive and more attacking,” said Neil.

“That allows us to hunt the ball more and find the space behind teams, that is one of our key strengths.

“When teams came here, they gave us more and more respect as the season went on.

“So now the job is for us to find a solution, find a way to break teams down a lot more.

“The stats show that we were the No.1 team for attacks per game which is incredible.

“But what that shows me is that a lot of our attacks did not produce enough goals and shots on target – there was not enough end product.

“We have to deal with that as a team.”