Preston North End manager Alex Neil targets back-to-back wins when Luton Town visit Deepdale

Alex Neil wants to see Preston North End back-up their midweek victory over Fulham with another three points against Luton Town tomorrow.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 6:00 am
Preston North End manager Alex Neil
Preston North End manager Alex Neil

Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the Cottagers ended a run of four defeats and moved them back into the top six.

PNE’s form at Deepdale has been their strength this season and the Hatters’ visit offers an opportunity to build on what they have done in front of the home faithful.

This will be the first clash between the sides for 13 years, with Luton having had a spell in the National League.

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Tom Clarke is an option to play at right-back in place of the suspended Joe Rafferty

Lilywhites manager Neil said: “This game is a critical one for us, as it is for Luton.

“They are down near the bottom end and need to pick up points.

“Tuesday night’s win over Fulham was massive for us in terms of it being against a side who are arguably one of the best in the league and due to the manner we achieved it.

“We were still missing key players but we played really well and that will give us plenty of confidence.

“It was nice to get the win and have the good feeling which comes with it.

“As a footballer, manager and coach, your life is dictated by results.

“Regardless of how well or how poorly you play, results are the important thing.

“To come off a run of results which really frustrated us was great and now we want to follow that up.

“We are not alone in having been on a bad run.

“Swansea haven’t won in six games, Charlton have really been struggling of late.

“But look at Blackburn, they were struggling but have picked up and have had some great results.

“This division does that at times, it can really test you and stretch you.”

Going forward, Neil seems set to stick with David Nugent up front and Billy Bodin on the right after they came into the side against Fulham and made a big impact.

Neil has given little away in terms of a fitness update on the injured players.

He will definitely have to make a change at right-back with Joe Rafferty starting a three-game ban for his red card against Fulham.

Tom Clarke is one option, with the skipper coming on a substitute in midweek to play there in the closing stages.

The other option is to hope Darnell Fisher returns from a four-game injury absence.

Neil said: “It certainly helps with Tom coming back.

“You saw the difficulties we had at Hull when we didn’t have a right-back.

“I don’t really want to move Alan Browne out of midfield, even though he has been great when filling in at right-back.

“We want Alan in the middle, that is where he plays his best football and can be a threat for us.”