Rotherham will be a tough nut to crack says Preston North End boss Alex Neil

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Alex Neil was impressed with what he saw on a scouting mission to watch Rotherham earlier this week.

Ahead of their visit to Deepdale on Saturday, the Preston North End boss was in the stands for the Millers’ 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.

Tony Pulis’ side led the way in the Championship at that point but the Paul Warne’s visitors gave a good account of themselves as they picked up their first point on the road since returning to the second tier this season.

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They head to Lancashire on Saturday on the same number of points as PNE, 13, but two places lower on goal difference, sitting 21st and just above the relegation zone.

Rotherham's former North Ender Jamie ProctorRotherham's former North Ender Jamie Proctor
Rotherham's former North Ender Jamie Proctor

“I was at the game on Tuesday night and they could have beaten Middlesbrough,” Neil said.

“They had the opportunities to do it and look more than a decent side.

“They work hard, they put the ball forward, they get round the ball and are well organised.

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“They work hard to get back behind the ball as quickly as they can as well.

“They are going to be a real threat.

“I know Paul Warne and Richie Barker really well and they’ve got a good squad of lads there who are working really hard for them.

“When you’ve got that you’ve always got a chance.”

PNE’s games have generally brought goals this season but Neil believes Saturday could prove to be an exception.

Unlike their hosts this weekend, Rotherham haven’t been prolific as they’ve settled back into life in the Championship so will likely be less gung-ho than other visitors to Deepdale in recent weeks.

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“They’ve been similar to us in some aspects but what they haven’t done is score as many goals as we have,” said Neil.

“They’ve scored 10 league goals this season which is the lowest in the division.

“We’re the third highest league scorers and look really dangerous at the moment. The last thing you want when you’re down the bottom end of the table is come up against a team that is dangerous and scores goals. That’s the worst thing ever.

“If you’re looking at a team thinking they score a goal a game, you know if you score a couple of goals you win the game.

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“People need to score four to beat us at the moment. I think they’ll make it a bit more cagey than recent games have been.”

One of the Millers’ main goal threats will come from Preston-born Deepdale academy product Jamie Proctor.

The 26-year-old scored three goals in his first three goals this season, including two in the 3-1 League Cup win over Wigan back in August. 
He has missed some action this season due to a groin injury but returned as a late substitute in the goalless draw at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday night.

The striker recently extended his contract until the summer of 2021 having missed much of Rotherham’s promotion season with a knee injury.