Preston North End ready to bank on away form in the coming days
Preston North End will be leaning on their away form over the next few days in a bid to push up the Championship.
Alex Neil’s men have been happy travellers this season, with a win and a draw in the league, and a victory in the Carabao Cup on the road.
That is in stark contrast with results at Deepdale which have seen them lose all three Championship games by a single goal.
North End face Queens Park Rangers this evening (7.45pm) at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, then go to Huddersfield on Saturday.
It is an away double header with a quick turnaround in between, which will ask a lot of the Lilywhites.
In recent years their away form has generally been very good, last season seeing a change with home results much stronger. Neil said: “Our away form over lockdown has been better than that at home.
“I’ve been through spells here when the home form has been good and the away results not as good.
“You get swings like that and it is difficult to put your finger on why.
“I might sound like a broken record with this but not having fans in the ground could be a factor.
“One game where we had fans in made a real difference – that was at Norwich.
“It was only 1,000 fans but it made for a better game, there were no lulls.”
Neil is likely to freshen up the side at QPR in response to Sunday’s defeat to Cardiff.
Ben Pearson’s groin injury makes him a doubt and that could bring Daniel Johnson or Paul Gallagher into the team.
Tom Barkhuizen came on for Brad Potts after an hour of the Cardiff game, with that a potential change from the start tonight.
Although Barkhuizen did not pull up any trees in his time on the pitch on Sunday, using his pace will be a big temptation for Neil.
Jayden Stockley and Emil Riis will both be pushing for a start up front.
While Neil’s tone has been one of frustration at only a limited dip into the transfer market, he is backing his squad to get through the high number of games between now and the new year.
Said Neil: “We wanted to strengthen as much as we could, we’ve signed one player.
“To get through to the next window is going to be tough and difficult but this group of players is more than capable of putting a run of results together – we have shown that before.
“We’ve had this squad together for a long time, in football 12 months is a long time particularly if you look at what other teams have done.
“Nottingham Forest have added 14 players. Speaking to Neil Harris on Sunday, Cardiff have added four or five.”