VIDEO: Alex Neil confident his PNE side are ready for the off
Alex Neil feels his Preston North End side are readyÂ for the big Championship kick-off after an emphatic win over Fleetwood in their final pre-season friendly.
The Lilywhites will host Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale next Saturday on the back of a 5-1 win at Highbury last night.
PNE went behind to Cian Bolger’s header with the game heading towards the interval only for Paul Huntington to head home an equaliser with the last act of the first half.
Neil then saw his side turn on the style after the break with Tom Barkhuizen, Daniel Johnson, from the penalty spot, and Daryl Horgan on target before a Lewie Coyle own goal completed the scoring against the League One side.
“Some of the football was fantastic,” Neil said.
“We’re trying to entertain and play well but you have got to win too.
“The be-all-and-end-all is winning points and winning games however we’ve got a manner in which we want to play.
“If we do it as well as we can, like we’ve showed against Fleetwood, then it’s great to watch.
“It’s not always going to work that way, there are going to be difficult matches.
“But what we saw against Fleetwood was great, I can’t single anyone out we played that well as a team.”
The game brought down the curtain on a tough series of friendlies.
“It’s been a great programme for us,” Neil said.
“We’ve been competitive in all the games, we’ve played some really good football against some good sides and we’ve finished it in the best way we possibly can.
“I don’t think you can grumble with 5-1 away from home against a good side.”
While keen not to single out players, Darnell Fisher did play 80 minutes at right-back on his North End debut having joined from Rotherham.
“I thought he did great,” said Neil.
“He was really aggressive in his movements. He was strong in individual duels, very few people get past him and he’s got good pace.
“He’s still a young lad so he’s not always going to play well but what he’ll give you is 100 per cent all the time and if he plays as well as he did tonight then I’ll be happy.”
A minor hip injury did mean Chris Maxwell didn’t face his former club, the goalkeeper having limped off late on against Burnley. Mat Hudson deputised with Declan Rudd also still struggling with a thigh problem.
Maxwell is however expected to be fine for next weekend.
There will be an in-house game today for the players who didn’t feature at Fleetwood. The squad then have a day off on Sunday before the build-up begins in earnest to the season opener against The Owls next Saturday, August 5.