Why Preston boss Alex Neil won't try and second guess new Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis

Preston North End manager Alex Neil won’t try to second guess Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale on Saturday after their change of manager.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 20th November 2020, 12:30 pm

The Owls sacked Garry Monk at the start of the international break and took little time in replacing him with seasoned campaigner Tony Pulis.

Neil takes the view that the change means North End have to focus on their own approach rather than busy themselves with guessing games over how Wednesday might play.

That is music to the ears of some PNE supporters who have pointed the finger at Neil for paying too much attention to the opposition.

Tony Pulis and Alex Neil on the Deepdale touchline during Preston North End's Carabo Cup clash with Middlesbrough in 2018

“Sheffield Wednesday have chosen to change their manager and what it does is really make our week clear in the fact we just need to focus on how we are going to play," said Neil.

“We don’t know how Tony is going to play it. They were playing a back three which Tony could stick with having played it at Middlesbrough.

“He could revert to a back four, they could go one up front or two up front. There is no point second guessing it.”

Wednesday decided for the change in the dug out after a somewhat under whelming start to the campaign.

Tony Pulis and Alex Neil

They had to start from the very bottom of the division having been deducted 12 points for financial irregularities.

They got half of those points back on appeal earlier in the month and now sit 23rd in the table.

Four points gathered from two games at Hillsborough prior to the international break wasn’t enough to keep Monk in a job.

Casting his eye over recent events in South Yorkshire, Neil said: “We’ve got to put things in perspective.

“It is 11 games into the season, it’s not as if we are in January having played 25 or 26 games and they are worried about still being down there.

“They’ve had a lot of churn of players which is something they will have to look at.

“There will have been a negative mentality because when you are given minus points, you know you have a mountain to climb.

“They are off the foot of the table now, that will give them confidence.

“Tony will be trying to do what every other manager in this league is doing, focusing on trying to win the next game and see where that takes them.”

Wednesday could have keeper Kieran Westwood in their side at Deepdale for the first time this season.

Westwood was frozen out by Monk but the Owls got him registered in their 25-man squad this week.

Former PNE loanee Adam Reach will be in the visitors squad, the winger having spent much of the 2015/16 season at Deepdale on loan from Middlesbrough.

A candidate to play up front for Wednesday is Josh Windass, a player PNE have been linked with previously.

They made an offer for him in December 2017 when he was at Rangers, but saw the bid turned down.

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