Preston North End striker Emil Riis eyes a start against Reading after eventually getting the measure of Birmingham's offside trap

Preston North End manager Alex Neil believes Emil Riis getting caught offside frequently against Birmingham was not down to over-eagerness on the striker's part.

By Dave Seddon
Sunday, 24th January 2021, 8:00 am

The Dane was flagged offside a number of times in the first half of the midweek 1-0 victory at St Andrew's.

He got the measure of the Blues backline in the second half though, becoming an increasing threat.

Neil said: "I don't think Emil was trying to play on the shoulder too much.

Preston North End striker Emil Riis in action against Birmingham

"To be honest that was probably as aggressive that I have seen the Birmingham line, that caught us out a little bit.

"They are not normally as aggressive as that. If you think of Birmingham of old, they generally sat off the ball and left the space in front of them rather than behind them.

"Birmingham had obviously done work on squeezing the space. But as they found out it was quite damaging to them in the second half.

"We got down the sides of them a lot more, Brad Potts should have scored when he hit the post from Emil's cross.

"There were a few times when they got caught off us getting through the offside trap."

Riis will hope to retain his place in the starting XI against Reading today, the Deepdale clash kicking-of at 12.30pm.

He scored against the Royals in the reverse fixture at the Madejski Stadium in November, North End winning 3-0.

Neil said: "We know how much of a threat Emil can be, it's just a matter of consistency for him.

"What we have to remember is that although he is a big lad, he's only 22 and come here from a different country.

"The intensity if higher here and we put a lot more demands on him than he was used to."

At Birmingham, Riis took the place of Sean Maguire who missed out on the squad with a injury.

Neil said: "It was not a big issue with Sean, it was probably overuse more than anything because he's played a lot of games recently."

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