Preston boss Alex Neil nominated for December's manager of the month award

Preston North End boss Alex Neil has been nominated for the Championship manager of the month award.

Thursday, 11th January 2018, 5:00 am

Neil guided the Lilywhites to four wins and two draws during December.

That unbeaten run helped North End close the gap on the play-off places and put Neil in the running for the December award.

The Scotsman is up against Derby boss Gary Rowett, Lee Johnson at Bristol City and Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil

In shortlisting Neil, award sponsors Sky Bet said: “He has allied defensive discipline to a determined work ethic and counter-attacking football.

“The potent combination saw his side go unbeaten, collecting 14 points from six games as they moved to the cusp of the play-off places.”

Sky Bet will announce the winner tomorrow morning.

The judging panel for the award consists of ex-Ipswich manager George Burley, Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman, EFL marketing director Drew Barrand, League Managers’ Association director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet trader Mickey Mumford.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil

North End’s unbeaten run in December was followed by defeat to Middlesbrough on New Year’s Day.

But they bounced back by beating Wycombe 5-1 in the FA Cup last week.

It is back to Championship action on Saturday when PNE travel to the New Den to face Millwall.

This is the second time since coming to Preston that Neil has been nominated for the manager of the month award – he was shortlisted in September.

But nominations and awards are not something he is paying much attention to, what is important to him is continued progress on the pitch.

Neil said: “Awards don’t mean anything if I’m being honest.

“We’ve got 20 games to try and hit the play-offs, that is our sole focus.

“I know that I have a good players, we know that we have a good side but what we have to do is continue winning games.

“As soon as we start to think that people are recognising what we do, that is when you come unstuck.

“We need to keep doing what we are doing.

“The determination and work-rate which has got us to this point, we have got to up it another 5%.”

After the busy Christmas period, followed by the FA Cup game at Wycombe, Neil has been pleased to have a clear midweek to prepare for the visit to Millwall.

“A week between games is a big one for us,” said Neil.

“A lot of players have done a lot of minutes recently and we managed to rest a few last week. Other lads came in to get them prepared for what is ahead of us.”