Preston North End 'solid' in their draw at Huddersfield but lacked creativity says Lilywhites boss Alex Neil

Preston North End manager Alex Neil had mixed feelings about his side's goalless draw with Huddersfield Town at the John Smith's Stadium.
Preston midfielder Ben Pearson tries to prevent a Huddersfield attackPreston midfielder Ben Pearson tries to prevent a Huddersfield attack
Preston midfielder Ben Pearson tries to prevent a Huddersfield attack

There was a welcome clean sheet for North End - the first for nine matches - but again a lack of creativity going forward reared its head.

Only in the stoppage-time did Neil's men look dangerous with two chances falling to Scott Sinclair and another to Sean Maguire with the last kick of the game.

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The draw moved them up a place to ninth but they are now six points adrift of sixth-place Cardiff City who won at Bristol City.

With five games left, it looks a tall order indeed to claw back that deficit.

Neil said: "There was not a lot created in the game.

"It was a good solid performance, I don't think Declan Rudd will have a quieter afternoon - I can't remember him having to deal with anything.

"We wanted to make sure we got back to being hard to beat, we wanted to keep a clean sheet which we did.

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"In a certain way it hit our attacking play, albeit we got in one or two good situations - we got down the sides of them a few times.

"It was just about picking that pass out or getting the attempt away.

"As the game wore on we went really aggressive with the substitutes in terms of putting on the attacking players we had available.

"We got a couple of good chances off the back of it.

"Scotty had a really good chance, so did Seani. Unfortunately those didn't hit the target.

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"I'm delighted with the clean sheet but obviously I would have liked to win the game."

Huddersfield, who are looking to avoid relegation, will probably have been more pleased with the point than North End were.

They didn't offer much threat which perhaps made North End's inability to take advantage more frustrating.

Neil said: "I thought Huddersfield were really conservative in the way they played compared to how they usually do.

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"In their game against Nottingham Forest which I watched, they had Harry Toffolo bombing up and down the wing.

"I can't really remember anytime their full-backs came up the pitch, they wanted to stay really safe.

"It was up to us to break them down, I thought we got in some good situations but we couldn't penetrate enough.

"We came here having lost a couple of games which wasn't nice so we wanted to keep a clean sheet, be hard to beat and build on that.

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"It is a start, we got a point and what we have to do is take that solidity into the next game but also try to become a bit more creative at the top end.

"We didn't have enough shots on goal which was frustrating.

"I thought the pitch played quite slow which didn't do anything for the tempo of the game - it wasn't a high tempo game which usually gets the best out of us.

"I was disappointing with certain aspects but that wasn't necessarily all our doing.

Neil made four changes to his starting line-up, bringing in Ryan Ledson for the midfielder's first Championship start since November 27.

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"I thought Ryan did well, he got in a few tackles, put a great pass in for Tom Barkhuizen down the right hand side in the first half," said Neil.

"He did a great recovery for us in the second half when he got back to put a great tackle in - that was one of the only attacks they had."