Boss Alex Neil cannot wait to get Preston North End's season started
Alex Neil is looking forward to meeting the challenge of the new Championship campaign in which Preston will look to better last term's seventh-place finish.
It is a home start for North End tomorrow, when they host Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale (3pm).
While the injuries to Sean Maguire and Billy Bodin have taken a coat of gloss off the build-up this week, PNE boss Neil is excited about what is ahead of him and his squad.
He said: “One phrase which the club uses – Peter Ridsdale does in particular – is that we want to try and better the year before.
“We want to go one better than last season, we want to push higher – that is only natural.
“However, it is going to be a different competition in terms of the teams involved. Some of them will have strengthened, others might have been weakened.
“We will be in a different place because we have brought some players in and then in the last few days we have lost a couple to injury.
“All you can do in football is control the controllable – a lot of things are out of your control.
“If you worry about them, that can have a negative effect.
“I will control as much as I can and what I know is that we have a lot of very good players and a really good squad.
“We are looking forward to the season.
“How we’ll do things is to take it a game at a time.
“When we take to the pitch it will be those three points which we want to win, simple as that.
“That applies to every single game from Saturday until we finish.”
All eyes will be on Preston’s attack in Maguire’s absence, with Louis Moult set to lead the frontline. Moult will be looking to get his PNE career properly going after a slow start.
Said Neil: “Louis has done well in the pre-season games, he got his goal at Oldham.
“Who you go for up there can depend of what type of opposition you are facing.
“Sean Maguire is the type of striker who wants to move away from the player on the ball and stretch teams, that is his strength.
“Louis is a different type, he is more of a penalty-box striker who gets on the end of things – he’s dangerous in and around the box.
“Callum Robinson is a bit different to that, while Tom Barkhuizen is different again.
“You do need options and we have a strong squad.
“I’m glad we have reached the start of the season.
“The pre-season serves its purpose but there is a lack of an edge in the friendlies.
“Now that the real stuff is starting, hopefully we can start the season as well as we did last year.”