PNE boss Alex Neil relishes late dash to make the play-offs

Alex Neil says his Preston side are '˜up for the challenge' of making a late run for the play-offs.

Monday, 16th April 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 16th April 2018, 10:26 am

Back-to-back victories have refuelled their push for the top six which seemed to have waned after three defeats on the spin.

The 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road moved PNE up to eighth place in the Championship table with three games to play.

They are just three points behind Millwall, who occupy the last play-off place.

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Callum Robinson celebrates scoring PNE's first goal against QPR at Loftus Road

North End manager Neil said: “What we have to do is just focus on ourselves.

“The topic of conversation before Saturday’s game was whatever happens elsewhere, if we don’t win we aren’t going to get there.

“It was the same before we played against Leeds last week. We have to focus on our game, win our game, and what happens elsewhere happens.

“We are three points off at the moment and have three games remaining.

Callum Robinson celebrates scoring PNE's first goal against QPR at Loftus Road

“I think we have as good a chance as anyone else in that area of the league.

“We’ll just keep going and see what happens.

“Do we need to win all three games? I’m not so sure.

“A lot of the teams around us have got each other to play so points will be dropped.

“We have some points to claw back on others and we managed to claw back some on certain teams by beating QPR.

“It makes for an exciting end to the season, we are up for the challenge and we are enjoying it.”

Callum Robinson and Alan Browne were on target as PNE fought back from going a goal down to beat QPR.

Matt Smith put the hosts in front in the 13th minute, with Robinson equalising on the stroke of half-time.

North End’s winner came 16 minutes from time, Browne meeting a free-kick from Paul Gallagher to head home.

Neil pulled no punches with how he felt his side had performed in the first half.

However, he praised their response after the interval.

“In the first half we were poor, as poor as we have played this season,” said Neil.

“That was disappointing, we were too direct with our play when normally we play it out.

“We didn’t pick up enough second balls, which is normally something we are number one at in this league.

“What we asked of the lads in the second half was to go out and respond and we did that really well.

“This was the first time we have under-performed in the first half of a game and still gone in at level pegging.

“Maybe that is a good sign, we have shown resilience to stay in the game.”

Neil confirmed that Sean Maguire had missed the game with a hamstring injury.