Sean Gregan's exclusive column: A strong team spirit is key to Preston North End's good run of late
Preston North End's team spirt is showing through in abundance and has played a big part in their good run of form.
To have lost just once in 12 games – a run which started at the start of October – is all the more impressive when you bear in mind how many injuries they’ve had.
That is where the spirit is showing through, there seems to be almost a siege mentality about the dressing room.
Every time there has been an injury, the others seem to roll up their sleeves and be so focused on getting another good result.
It would be easy to go down to a defeat and point the winger at injuries for things going wrong.
But the squad have got on with the task of picking-up results and done so in a very impressive way.
There is clearly talent in the squad as well as lots of spirit – you don’t put a run like this together unless you have lads who can play at this level comfortably.
Every credit to Alex Neil for pulling things round from earlier in the season when results were poor.
There was a run of seven games when North End only took one point from seven matches.
Credit then to both the Preston fans and board for holding their nerve.
Some clubs might have been tempted to change the manager after a run like that.
But I always found the supporters here to be a very fair and patient bunch.
Likewise, the owner and board obviously trusted Neil and felt he would get results going in the right direction.
That has proved to be the case and Preston are now a point closer to the top six than they are to the bottom three.
For me, it would seem a tall order for them to make a proper push for the play-offs bearing in mind the start to the season they had.
But I keep hearing people saying watch out for a push from Stoke, yet they are only three points better off than North End.
I suppose the difference with some of the clubs in and around the play-offs is the amount of money they will throw at it in January.
Victory over Millwall on Saturday came in difficult conditions.
I’m told that Deepdale was a very cold place to be, with the wind a biting one.
Following the football on Saturday afternoon, all the reports from various grounds around the country was how tough conditions were and how the football on show wasn’t sparkling.
Sometimes there are games where you just have to grind it out and be thankful for what you get.
The fact PNE did that by scoring three goals was great.
We are now going into the busy Christmas period of matches – I think next week’s visit to Sheffield Wednesday can be counted.
It is four games in 11 days and continuing the good run over Christmas would really strengthen PNE’s hand.
When the games are close together it comes down to playing and recovering, just get yourself right for the next one.