Preston boss Alex Neil will resist making sweeping changes against Leeds

Alex Neil is unlikely to go down the route of wholesale changes as he attempts to steer Preston back to winning ways against Leeds at Deepdale tonight.

Tuesday, 10th April 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th April 2018, 9:41 am

The Lilywhites have lost three games on the spin, a run which has left them six points behind the play-offs with only five games left.

While Neil could well make the odd tweak to freshen the side up, he has indicated he will largely stick by the players who have been playing of late.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

North End midfielder Ben Pearson

He reasons that while the results have taken a dip, PNE’s performances have still been at a decent level – the lack of a cutting edge their downfall.

“You are always trying to tweak to make things better,” said North End boss Neil.

“If you try to make some radical changes it looks like you are panicking and we have absolutely no need to panic.

“We made a couple of changes on Saturday, we brought Billy Bodin back in and put Louis Moult up 

North End midfielder Ben Pearson

“The way this season has panned out, the lads who have got us to this point have done remarkably well.

“If you get to this point and then tell them you are going to take them out, they would be thinking, ‘I should be given the opportunity to see it out’.

“It is difficult to try and change it at this stage of the season.

“Some of them have looked a bit fatigued but with those lads in the team we found a way to get ourselves into a good position.

“Where we are looking to improve is attacking and how we can break teams down.”

In terms of tweaking the team, Sean Maguire is likely to come into the starting XI.

The striker was on the bench at Reading, coming on at half-time for Moult.

Tom Clarke also came on as a half-time substitute, with the skipper replacing Ben Davies. Whether Neil 
considers a change at the back, remains to be seen.

Maguire being on the bench for the first half was an attempt to give him a breather.

Said Neil: “Sean came to us having played three-quarters of the season in Ireland.

“He had the injury and then we flung him in at the deep end.

“Sean then went away with Ireland and trained every day, did 11 v 11 sessions and then played 60 minutes of a game where he barely got a kick so was basically running around all the time.

“Then he’s been back with us and playing in our games, so it’s been a lot of work.”

Ben Pearson will tonight be facing a Leeds side against who he was sent off in August.

The midfielder walked for two bookings at Elland Road – the only red card of his 

Pearson is on 14 cautions for the season and one more would trigger a three-match suspension.