Preston North End boss Alex Neil opens up on his big selection dilemmas

Alex Neil admitted he was caught between a rock and a hard place when it came to his team selection for Preston’s draw with Rotherham.

The sides played out a drab affair at Deepdale, Michael Smith cancelling out Tom Barkhuizen’s opener as the game ended 1-1 at Deepdale on Saturday.

Tom Barkhuizen is congratulated on opening the scoring for Preston North End against Rotherham on Saturday

Tom Barkhuizen is congratulated on opening the scoring for Preston North End against Rotherham on Saturday

The only change from the 4-3 win over Brentford saw Tom Clarke come in for Darnell Fisher at right-back.

But Neil revealed post-match he had thought long and hard about freshening up the side before opting to go for continuity, something PNE have lacked for a variety of reasons this season.

“I was definitely going to make four changes at one point,” the PNE boss said.

“But I just felt we’ve been searching for a bit of momentum and a bit of consistency.

“I didn’t want to make those changes and really force it when I didn’t need to.

“At half-time we’re probably thinking it’s the right idea to play the team we played because we’re winning 1-0.

“We’d been the better team in the first half but then at the end of the game the question about the changes then comes into consideration.

“To be fair we made our subs relatively early and the flow of the game didn’t really alter that much.

“I’m frustrated, it certainly wasn’t a good game to watch.”

Neil knew he was largely in a no-win situation but was happy with the contribution of captain Clarke, as Fisher missed out against his former club having struggled against Brentford last time out.

“You’ve got to do what you think is right,” he said.

“I think in the type of role that I’m in you’re going to get criticised either way but that’s part of the job.

“I don’t think it makes too much difference and I don’t pay too much attention to what others say.

“Everybody else’s opinion is after the event which is 
always easy.

“It’s trying to have the foresight to see if before it happens and the Tom Clarke one I was comfortable with and it certainly assisted and helped us.

“He got his head on so many set-plays which really helped us.”