Preston North End boss Alex Neil on why he didn't make a third substitution in the draw with Swansea

Preston North End manager Alex Neil has explained why he held off making a final substitution in the draw against Swansea City at Deepdale.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 3rd February 2020, 12:11 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 12:12 pm
Sean Maguire replaces Tom Barkhuizen late in Preston's 1-1 draw with Swansea at Deepdale
Sean Maguire replaces Tom Barkhuizen late in Preston's 1-1 draw with Swansea at Deepdale

Neil made two changes in the second half as he chased a winner, David Nugent coming on for Josh Harrop and then Sean Maguire replacing Tom Barkhuizen.

A third switch which he had in mind was to replace Daniel Johnson with striker Jayden Stockley.

However, Neil decided against that in favour of building play through Johnson.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil during the game against Swansea at Deepdale

Neil said: “I made two changes to try and force the issue and I was tempted to put Jayden on.

“The only issue with that was if the middle three of Swansea got control of that area, it could have swung in their favour.

“So we could have had two strikers up there but there would have been no point if we couldn’t get the ball to them.

“I think DJ would have been the one to make way had we made the change as he was starting to tire.

Alex Neil considered substituting Daniel Johnson against Swansea

“But he was our link, the one to get it into areas where we hurt them.

“DJ gets the ball and slides it down the sides for people to get on the ball and hurt teams from there. If you take that link out, how do you get up the pitch?

“You get dilemmas like that in games and you have to make a judgement.

“When we got that chance at the end for Alan Browne, if that had gone in we would all have been talking about a great win and performance.

“As it was , our display was okay, I wasn’t delighted by it by any means.

“I wanted to win the game, it was our home game and we tried to win it.”

North End now turn their attention to back-to-back away games.

On Saturday they make the short trip down the M6 to face Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. It is a lunchtime start against Latics (12.30pm) with it being televised by Sky Sports.

Then a week on Wednesday North End head to Stoke – the first meeting between the clubs since the Potters tried to lure Neil there in November.

By Sunday, PNE had sold around 1,500 tickets for the Wigan game with sales likely to speed up as the week goes on.

North End’s allocation for the February 29 trip to Fulham went on sale on Monday and 400 tickets were snapped up inside 90 minutes.

The total allocation for the Craven Cottage clash is 1,964 seats.