Preston North End boss Alex Neil on the need to be an '˜all-rounder' in the Championship

Preston manager Alex Neil thinks his side have started to show the '˜all-rounder' skills needed to be consistent in the Championship.
Preston manager Alex Neil applauds the travelling PNE supporters at IpswichPreston manager Alex Neil applauds the travelling PNE supporters at Ipswich
Preston manager Alex Neil applauds the travelling PNE supporters at Ipswich

The Lilywhites are seven games unbeaten and earned their first league away victory in beating Bristol City at the weekend.

Although there is some frustration on Neil’s part with the draws in that run, in the main he is pleased with how PNE have strung results together since the beginning of October.

Neil said: “You face different tests in the Championship.

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“Playing someone like Rotherham, for example, is very different to Bristol City or Brentford but the games are equally as difficult.

“I wouldn’t go round and say that team is better than any other – the league table will decide that.

“If you cannot compete physically with Rotherham you will struggle.

“Equally if you don’t go and compete with technical sides like Brentford, you’ll struggle.

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“You need to be something of an all-rounder to go to each ground and compete with what you are up against.

“We have shown traits of being able to do both over the last seven games, although we still have a lot of work to do.”

North End’s seven-match unbeaten run came off the back of four league defeats on the bounce in September.

In that losing sequence was also a penalty shoot-out exit from the League Cup at the hands of Middlesbrough.

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Runs of defeats are not a new thing at Preston and Neil is working to change that.

The Scot said: “This club has had a strange record in the league for the last three or four seasons.

“Last year we had that run of four defeats when there were all those injuries.

“After that we lost only two of the next 20, or something like that.

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“The season before I came here, we lost six out of the first eight games.

“Then we hardly lost a league game for quite a while after that.

“What we are trying to work towards is cutting out those batches of defeats and stick to the consistent runs.”

The international break will afford Preston a breather before heading into a busy few months of action.

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This is the third break of the season but another is not scheduled until late March.

North End resume action with the derby game against Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale a week on Saturday, then they host Middlesbrough three days later.