Alex Neil says Preston North End have a positive attitude for Rotherham trip

Alex Neil is aiming for Preston to start 2019 on a high note at Rotherham today.

Tuesday, 1st January 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 3:34 am
Adam O'Reilly will be in the Preston squad at Rotherham today after making his debut last Saturday

Although the Lilywhites head to the New York Stadium without a win in three games, Neil detects a ‘positive vibe’ within his squad and hopes that shows on the pitch.

The 1-1 draw with Aston Villa certainly gave them a lift after the defeats to Sheffield Wednesday and Hull.

It was a vibrant display which probably deserved more than the point they got.

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North End manager Neil said: “It would be nice to get the new year off to a good start.

“There is a positive vibe at the club, we recently came off a really good run.

“Sheffield Wednesday was disappointing because we didn’t give ourselves a chance of winning that game due to the circumstances.

“Against Hull I thought we deserved something, then to go into the Villa game with the lads we had missing, with the young boys in and to play the way we did, gave everyone a shot in the arm of confidence.

“This will be a tough game, a different type from the one we had against Villa.

“That is what happens in the Championship, you go from one extreme to another.

“It is a challenge which we have to meet head on.”

Numbers are likely to be thin on the ground again for Neil in South Yorkshire.

Sean Maguire was back in training on Sunday but this game might come too soon for the Irishman.

Neil dipped into the youth team to fill the bench against Villa, Adam O’Reilly and Ethan Walker making their debuts late in the game – Jack Baxter was an unused sub too.

They will all be in the squad again this afternoon and Neil has no issues with having the youngsters involved.

“We’ve had five or six of the kids training with us for the last few weeks which means their Christmas break didn’t happen,” said Neil.

“They have done well and would have been training with us regardless of the injuries because we need them to push on and take the next step.

“We are at the stage where it is needs-must for the bench but we rate these lads.

“I have seen managers who will only put five on the bench and not seven, rather than use the kids. I don’t get that, I think it must be to prove a point.

“Why wouldn’t you put a young kid on the bench and give them an opportunity they haven’t had before?

“Every player that has signed for Preston North End in some way, shape or form, is here to do a job for us, to try and be the best they can be.

“Ethan Walker and Jack Baxter are Preston fans – that is one of the foundations this club is built on.

“If you look at the squad there are a lot of domestic players here.”