Preston North End boss Alex Neil demands more consistency ahead of Chairboys trip
Alex Neil thinks cutting out some basics errors will help Preston find the consistency they have craved all season.
The whole campaign has been a mixed bag of results, the best sequence being three wins on the spin, the worst three defeats in a row.
In general though, it has been a ‘win, lose’ type of season and it is for that reason North End are sat in mid-table ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s visit to Wycombe Wanderers (3pm).
The last five games have seen a ‘lose, draw, win, lose, draw’ sequence.
Neil thinks that the set of results could have been better had mistakes not been made for goals scored by Millwall and Bournemouth.
“In the recent games we have been competitive and in with a chance in all of them,” said PNE boss Neil. “We’ve made a couple of errors which have meant we’ve not got what we wanted.
“You look at the second goal at Millwall and then last week against Bournemouth.
“I wouldn’t say those were down to too much quality from the opposition, one was a long ball lifted over the top and the other a ball down the channel.
“If we can just deal with a few things that bit better, we will pick up more points.”
Neil thinks a constant need to change defenders has not helped PNE of late.
Paul Huntington and Jordan Storey were the centre-half pair against Bournemouth as Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes were missing.
With Lindsay having been nursing a hamstring strain and Hughes being treated for a shoulder injury, it might be that Huntington and Storey play again tomorrow.
All the centre-halves have their own strengths and weaknesses which has made finding consistency at the back a touch difficult. Said Neil: “Lads naturally have a tendency of how they like to play. Paul Huntington for example is more comfortably staying behind the ball and wants the game in front of him a lot.
“Squeezing the line and getting towards the halfway line is not something which comes naturally to him.
“What Hunts does do is defend his box really well.”
Whether North End get any of their walking wounded back at Adams Park tomorrow, remains to be seen.
Lindsay has not played since the drubbing at Cardiff, with Ryan Ledson’s last game being the derby win over Blackburn.
Neil did get the services of Sean Maguire back last week, much to his delight.
“I thought Sean made a good impact from the bench against Bournemouth, he came on and looked lively. He’s versatile, plays anywhere across the frontline and is a good option to have. We’re pleased to have him back.”