Preston have more in the tank, says boss Alex Neil

Alex Neil thinks there is still plenty more to come from his Preston North End as he looks to start 2021 in as strong a manner they finished 2020.

Friday, 1st January 2021, 8:00 am
Preston skipper Alan Browne

The Lilywhites have won their last three games without conceding a goal, steadying the ship after an inconsistent season in general.

Neil admits the wins against Derby and Coventry over Christmas was more workmanlike rather than free flowing.

But in a results-based industry, points have to be earned how they can.

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The wins have certainly injected some confidence into North End and the aim is to take that in tomorrow’s clash with Nottingham Forest at Deepdale (3pm).

Neil said: “Confidence always returns with good results, we have spoken about that before.

“Confidence isn’t something that you can just give someone, it is linked with how you perform.

“You can quickly take it away with a bad performance or result, it is quite delicate.

“We should take great heart from the fact I think we still have another couple of gears to go up to in terms of our performance.

“In the meantime we have been winning games, to win three on the bounce with three clean sheets in no mean feat at this level because the games are so unpredictable.”

Neil’s approach of late has to be better defensively which has meant their time with the ball has been reduced.

There’s been less of a reliance on the press and to quickly get the ball back.

“We have been more solid and that has been a platform for us,” said Neil.

“What we haven’t done is controlled the games as much as we have done others.

“Strangely for us when we have had less possession lately, we have had better results in general.

“I have focused less on trying to control the match and more on being solid.

“We are always a threat in transition anyway and in this period, that has helped us.

“With having players out at different stages, we’ve had to come up with different solutions to try and win.

“We’ve won in different manners, if you look at our win against Coventry and the win at Bournemouth a few weeks ago, they were literally chalk and cheese.”

Neil hopes to have Alan Browne available to face Forest, the skipper having limped out of the Coventry game early in the second half.

Scott Sinclair isn’t too far away either after feeling his hamstring at Derby.

“Alan’s issue was that his calf cramped up,” said Neil.

“He’s played a hell of a lot of games this season, during the international breaks he’s been away and played so it’s been non-stop for him.”