Preston North End midfield trio earn the praise of Alex Neil after victory over Birmingham City

Alex Neil was pleased with the balance of Preston North End's midfield in their victory over Birmingham City last night.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 8:00 am

Lilywhites manager selected new boys Jayson Molumby and Ben Whiteman together with Ryan Ledson in the engine room.

Alan Browne was switched to right-back to accommodate that trio, the skipper steady in the defensive role.

Molumby and Whiteman both played their parts in Scott Sinclair's 61st minute goal which gave North End the 1-0 win at St Andrew's.

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Preston North End midfielder Jayson Molumby drives forward against Birmingham City at St Andrew's

Neil paired Ledson and Whiteman in the deeper roles, with Molumby pushed further forward as the No.10 behind striker Emil Riis.

"The midfield played very well, I thought they were suited to the match - it was perfect for them," said Neil.

"It gave us good balance.

"Jay was one who I had said after the last game that I just needed to find out where he is.

"I've since seen a little bit more of him in training and I thought in this game he triggered the press great, he was aggressive, his use of the ball was good, his weight of pass for the goal was excellent.

"He ran himself into the ground and it will be really interesting to see how much distance he covered because it felt like he pressed three players himself at times.

"I also thought Alan was excellent as well at right-back.

"In the first half on a couple of occasions he was a bit too hungry to get out and Bela got in behind him.

"But in the second half he improved a lot."

Neil was delighted that Paul Huntington was able to mark his 300th appearance for PNE with a win and clean sheet.

The centre-half performed very well at the back as Preston kept their hosts at bay.

Neil said: "You want those landmark games to be memorable, when you are a defender you want it to be a for a clean sheet and win.

"When you are a forward you want it to be for a goal so you can look back with good memories.

"I'm sure Paul will be really pleased with that."

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