Preston boss Alex Neil wants to finish February on a winning note

Alex Neil has set his sights on Preston finishing February with a strong result at Fulham today ahead of a 10-match countdown to the end of the regular season.
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The Lilywhites travel to Craven Cottage in sixth place and Neil wants to cement a spot in the promotion pack going into March.

Today’s game will be only the fifth time in their history that North End have played on February 29 – rarely has a leap year’s extra day fallen at a weekend.

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PNE boss Neil said: “We are in the pack so I’m delighted with how the month has gone.

Preston North End manager Alex NeilPreston North End manager Alex Neil
Preston North End manager Alex Neil

“I’ll be even more delighted if we can get a result at Fulham as that would guarantee us being in the top six at the end of February.

“Then we have 10 games left and it is squeaky bum time, it’s not just about fighting.

“It is about who has got the bottle, who can handle the pressure.

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“When we started this month we knew it would be a really tough one. So to be where we are with one game left in February , we have done very well.”

PNE finished seventh in Neil’s first season and then got within goal difference of the top six in March last year before falling away.

In both those campaigns Neil felt his side were chasing and playing catch-up in a way, while this season they have had more control.

“We were always chasing but this time we have always been in it, we have kept fighting,” said Neil.

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“Last season and the one before we’d put good runs together to give ourselves a chance but then might not win the next game to push on.

“This year we have been there for the majority, we’ve only had a couple of weeks or so outside the top six.

“We have churned it out this season, there is no reason why we haven’t got as good a chance as anyone else has.

“Are we better this year than last year? I don’t know.

“We’re much more seasoned this time, we have got more nous.

“What the game against West Brom the other night showed me was that we still got more to learn.

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“I thought their nous was better than ours. It was things like when to go or not, when to play that quick pass to try and puncture.”

Meanwhile, winger Billy Bodin is set to see a specialist about the Achilles injury which has sidelined him since early January.

Neil said: “He got a kick on the Achilles which has caused him the problem.

“We have got him to the test stage where Billy has been outside doing a lot of running.

“The issue we’ve got is that there might be a some bit of floating bone in there which could need removing. He’s going to see a surgeon shortly.”