Preston North End boss Alex Neil looks ahead to first Blackburn Rovers derby

Preston manager Alex Neil will sample his first derby against Blackburn when the Lancashire rivals meet at Deepdale on Saturday.

Friday, 23rd November 2018, 9:30 am

Rovers’ spell in League One last season coincided with Neil’s arrival at North End.

So he’s looking forward to experiencing the occasion as his PNE side look to stretch their unbeaten run to an eighth game.

Neil expects a tough game against Tony Mowbray’s men who have taken to the division well after promotion.

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One-time Preston North End target Adam Armstrong is likely to be part of the Blackburn attack at Deepdale

They sit in ninth place and make the trip down the M65 having lost only one of their last six matches.

“Blackburn have picked up some really good results,” said Neil.

“By Tony’s own admission, there have been games when they have played really well and deserved the three points.

“Then there’s been games where they’ve had to be quite resilient and see it out to get results.

“That is the sign of a good team because you can’t play well every week.

“You have sometimes got to find an alternative way of winning.

“Blackburn will be a really tough test, they will be up for the game and we need to be ready for that.”

Mowbray’s men have won six, drawn eight and lost only three of their Championship matches this term.

Before the international break they drew 1-1 against Rotherham at Ewood Park.

That followed a 1-0 home victory over QPR, Bradley Dack on target in both games.

Dack is their top scorer with 10 goals, eight of those coming in the league.

Scotland international Charlie Mulgrew has four goals to his name, with Danny Graham on target three times.

Centre-half Mulgrew is set for a return to action against North End after a month out with a rib injury and damage to his liver.

Mowbray said: “It was quite drawn out with Charlie and he’s had specialists involved.

“It wasn’t just his ribs, it was his liver as well.

“What happened was his ribs knocked onto his liver and damaged it.

“He’s been given the green light and he’s trained for the last four or five days so he’ll be fine to play.

“His return will be a big boost for us.”

Another Rovers defender set to return at the weekend is left-back Derrick Williams who missed the last game with a knock.

Rovers’ forward line is set to feature Adam Armstrong, a player North End tried to buy in August.

They went into the market for him when Sean Maguire was injured on the eve of the season.

But Armstrong opted for the move to Ewood Park from Newcastle United in a £1.5m transfer having been there on loan in the second-half of last season – he scored nine goals in the promotion campaign.

The 21-year-old has scored four goals this term, three of them in the Carabao Cup.

Armstrong is likely to play in a wide role, with Graham the main striker and Dack in the No.10 role behind.