Preston North End boss Alex Neil on what his side need to do to climb the table
Alex Neil has challenged his Preston side to add more consistency to their game as they bid to pull clear of the wrong end of the Championship table.
After a wretched start to the season North End have stabilised with a five-game unbeaten run, drawing 1-1 with Rotherham at Deepdale last time out.
However, the Lilywhites are still 20th in the table and just two points clear of the relegation zone ahead of the trip to bottom side Ipswich on Saturday.
“It’s five games unbeaten, which is good,” said Neil.
“I still believe and hope there’s more to come from us because we can still perform a bit better than we have been doing.
“We’ve performed really well in some games – Brentford springs to mind. We just want and need a level of consistency.”
Neil believes an improving league position would bring the best out of his side.
On their way to seventh in the Championship last season the PNE boss insists being in the right half of the table – and with the pressure off – made a real difference to the way his players performed.
“What we want to try and do is pull away from the bottom end of the table, because when you’re trying to play under pressure and at the bottom end it does change things,” Neil said.
“Last year we went out with a real freedom every week because of the position where we found ourselves in the league and really enjoyed our football.
“Fans, players, myself – no one’s any different that when you’re towards the bottom end you understand the importance of every point. They mean more at that stage.
“We want to get that away from our minds so we can really focus on trying to enjoy the season.”
The North End manager is pleased to have a full week to work with his side ahead of the trip to Portman Road.
Neil felt there were signs of tiredness towards the end of Saturday’s stalemate with Rotherham, which came hot on the heels of the thrilling 4-3 win over Brentford the previous Wednesday night.
“I think you could see towards the end of the game that both teams looked fatigued,” Neil said.
“We had one day’s less rest than Rotherham ahead of Saturday and I thought we looked tired.
“They needed a couple of days just to recuperate and now we’re back to work ahead of Ipswich which is another really big game for us.”
Brandon Barker and Ryan Ledson could both return to the squad having missed the Millers game with groin and knee problems respectively.
Neither is believed to be serious however.