Preston manager Alex Neil has another Sheffield Wednesday boss to go head-to-head with

Alex Neil will face Sheffield Wednesday for an eighth time as Preston North End manager this weekend.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 4:45 pm

In that spell he has shared a technical area with seven different Owls managers, head coaches or caretakers.

It highlights the contrast in approaches towards managers at different clubs.

The PNE manager’s office is on stable foundations, just Neil and Simon Grayson having occupied it in the last eight years.

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Preston North End boss Alex Neil on the touchline at Hillsborough last season

Wednesday have tended to hire and fire, although the loss of Steve Bruce to Newcastle was not of their doing.

Neil’s first competitive game in charge of North End was against the Owls in August 2017 – Carlos Carvalhal his counterpart that day.

It was Jos Luhukay in charge when the clubs met later that season.

Luhukay was sacked the day PNE played at Hillsborough in December 2018, so it was Lee Bullen in caretaker charge.

PNE manager Alex Neil on the touchline with Sheffield Wednesday's Lee Bullen in August 2019

Bruce was Wednesday’s boss for the 3-3 draw with the Lilywhites at Deepdale in April 2019.

Bullen was back wearing the caretaker’s jacket early last season when North End won 2-1 at home.

For the return fixture in the restart period, Garry Monk stood a few yards down from Neil on the touchline.

When the sides met just two months ago at Deepdale, Tony Pulis was in charge of Wednesday for the first time.

He has been and gone already, with Neil Thompson now in temporary charge.

Thompson won his first three games in charge, with the Owls beating Derby and Middlesbrough in the league and Exeter in the FA Cup.

His first defeat was their 3-0 loss at Everton in the cup, then Wednesday were beaten 2-0 by Coventry in the league on Wednesday night.

Not surprisingly, Neil thinks stability in the manager’s office is the best thing for a club. Neil said: “I would much rather be in our position in terms of having continuity, knowing what you have got and what you are dealing with.

“It’s better to have a long-term strategy about how you are going to go about it.

“That is beneficial, if you look at where we are at the moment, it is proof of that.”

PNE will be chasing a first league double of the season tomorrow, having won 1-0 at Deepdale on November 21 with a Tom Barkhuizen goal.

They played against 10 men for the majority of that game, Josh Windass red-carded in the 17th minute for a high challenge on Joe Rafferty.

Another player to land himself with a three-match ban from that game was PNE right-back Darnell Fisher.

He was charged by the FA and banned for grabbing the genital area of Wednesday forward Callum Patterson.

The Owls have added two players to their squad this window, bringing Sam Hutchinson back to the club after a spell in Cyprus.

Former Preston loanee Andre Green joined on a free transfer having been without a club since leaving Aston Villa in the summer.

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