Preston North End aiming to avoid matching wretched record at Deepdale

Preston North End will be out to avoid matching an unwanted record of Deepdale defeats when they host Birmingham City tomorrow.

Friday, 30th October 2020, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites have lost all four Championship matches on home turf this season and have not scored a goal.

That is in contrast to having the division’s joint-best away record – them and Reading have both taken 10 points on the road.

Not since the 1997/98 season had PNE lost four league games in a row at home.

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PNE midfielder Josh Harrop

You have to go back to the 1958/59 campaign for the only time they lost five at Deepdale on the spin – Sir Tom Finney was missing from the side through injury in that run.

North End boss Alex Neil admitted his side got what they deserved against Millwall on Wednesday – nothing. The Lions won 2-0, with Neil’s men hardly laying a glove on them in terms of chances created,

Neil said: “We had played particularly well in the two away games before it.

“To lose to Millwall was a big disappointment because we know our home form has been poor.

“Teams at the moment are coming here and sitting in.

“When we have played Millwall in the past, they are normally quite aggressive at the top end and press you.

“They sat off us this time, gave us the ball and when teams do that, you need that quality to find those passing lines, open the pitch up.

“We didn’t move the ball well enough, as an attacking force we didn’t create enough.

“We couldn’t move the ball between the lines to hurt them, when we did get into good areas we over-hit crosses from the right side four or five times in the first half.

“I can put that down to a number of things – not feeling great, being lethargic or just not performing well enough on the night. The personnel on the pitch were perhaps more suited to a transition game.”

Neil is certain to freshen the side up for Birmingham’s visit, with him perhaps not taking as much of a chance on the players who were hit by a stomach bug this week.

He had to sub Patrick Bauer at half-time after the defender was sick, while a few others had been under the weather.

Bauer was replaced by Paul Huntington, while tactically Josh Harrop and Tom Barkhuizen joined the action from the bench

Harrop and Barkhuizen would both offer creativity if they got the nod from the start. Neil had midfielder Harrop ready to come on before Millwall’s first goal.

He said: “It was frustrating – two seconds before he was due to come on they scored.

“That made it doubly difficult for Josh because the spaces which would have been there were suddenly closed up.”

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