PNE boss Alex Neil praises his own '˜Fab Four' after Wycombe win

Alex Neil was impressed with how Preston's re-jigged attack performed in their FA Cup mauling of Wycombe.

Monday, 8th January 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 8th January 2018, 10:05 am

The PNE boss used a front four of Callum Robinson, Josh Harrop, Daryl Horgan and new boy Billy Bodin.

Top scorer Jordan Hugill was one of four regulars given the day off as Neil freshened the side up.

It paid dividends as North End romped to a 5-1 victory, with Harrop and Alan Browne scoring twice and Horgan on the scoresheet.

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Billy Bodin on his Preston debut in the 5-1 win at Wycombe

The draw for the fourth round is tonight at 7pm, when it will be shown live by the BBC and BT Sport.

Neil said: “Wycombe will be used to playing against a physical presence like Jordan and fighting for bits.

“I just felt that if we could rotate the front line more and have some interchanging up there, we could cause them a lot of problems.

“Callum Robinson was able to drift wide from the middle, Billy could drift inside and so could Daryl.

Billy Bodin on his Preston debut in the 5-1 win at Wycombe

“Josh Harrop at times was able to become the No.9 from being further back.

“I thought that movement and creation at the top end of the pitch was very effective.”

Bodin’s display caught the eye of Neil, the strength which the new signing from Bristol Rovers displayed especially pleasing.

The 25-year-old played 79 minutes on his debut before being substituted.

“I thought Billy did well, you could see technically how he comes in on his left foot and glides across the pitch really quickly,” said Neil.

“ The bit I was more pleased about was his physicality which was very good in terms of him competing for headers and tackles.

“I think that when you are signing wide players, they can sometimes be quite flowery. We wanted to make sure he would compete and fight for us and he did that.”

This was Neil’s first win in the FA Cup as a manager, with him twice exiting at the third-round stage when in charge of Norwich City.

So he was pleased to have made progress and to have seen some squad rotation work to good effect.

Said Neil: “We fielded a strong team, what I have is probably 18 or 19 players who we can rotate and put in at any time and be roughly as strong, depending on the style of the game.

“We went to Wycombe to win the match and I think the FA Cup is a fantastic cup.

“I didn’t have a good record in it up until Saturday so I wanted to change that.

“We want a cup run. Last year we got Arsenal. All our supporters will want us to bring a big team to our place or certainly go to their place for a good day out.

“We’ll see who we come out with next.”