What it will take to make Preston North End boss Alex Neil feel comfortable

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Alex Neil admits it will take a lot more good results before he is feeling comfortable with Preston's league position.

PNE make the long haul to Ipswich tomorrow unbeaten in five Championship games.

However, that run has only lifted them to 20th place and two points better off than the bottom three.

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So it is not surprising that North End manager Neil has labelled the visit to Portman Road as ‘really important’, the Tractor Boys one of the sides below them in the table.

Lukas Nmecha will be hoping for his first PNE goal at Portman Road tomorrowLukas Nmecha will be hoping for his first PNE goal at Portman Road tomorrow
Lukas Nmecha will be hoping for his first PNE goal at Portman Road tomorrow

Neil said: “I’m certainly not comfortable with where we are at.

“I’m not looking at the run and thinking, ‘That is us doing all right’.

“The Ipswich game is really important, if we could try and put a bit of distance between us, that will be crucial.

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“It would also be a step on in our recovery and it would give us a lot of confidence for the Bristol City match before the international break.

“I will be saying the same thing in four, five, six weeks’ time because each and every game is crucial at this level.

“Whether you are fighting to get up there or fighting to get away from down there, you need to work extremely hard to get three points.

“When you do get a win, there is no better feeling and we want to be experiencing that feeling a lot more.”

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The Lilywhites will face an Ipswich side with new boss Paul Lambert managing them for the first time.

Lambert landed the job last weekend but limited himself to a watching brief when the Tractor Boys were beaten 3-0 at Millwall.

He will be on the touchline tomorrow, Neil accepting that will add an extra ingredient to the clash.

Said Neil: “It is an element of the unknown because Paul hasn’t taken the team before. Who he picks and how they will play is unknown.

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“One thing is for certain, their players now have a point to prove to Paul.

“All their players will have a clean slate and be trying to show they are worth a place in the side.

“They will be working their socks off to try and get away from the bottom of the table and to impress the manager.

“I expect that to make it a doubly difficult game and I think it is going to be a proper match where both teams will get stuck in.”

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Neil expects to have the bulk of his squad to choose from and is unlikely to stray too far from the side which drew 1-1 with Rotherham last.

Lukas Nmecha is likely to spearhead the attack once again, the only thing missing from the teenager’s game of late being a first Preston goal.

Brandon Barker and Ryan Ledson should be available to travel after injury.

PNE have sold more than 300 tickets for the away end.