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First Team News

Neil Looking To Freshen Things Up

18 August 2017

Manager Alex Neil may look to make changes to his side for this weekend's visit of Reading.

The North End boss admitted his side lacked their usual energy on Tuesday night at Pride Park, and will bear that in mind when selecting his side to face the Royals on Saturday at Deepdale.

Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of the game, Neil said: "I think mentally as well as physically we looked a bit jaded in the game in comparison to what we'd done in the previous two matches. It's certainly something we will be looking at, we will see how the players respond in training and different things and I will have an eye on that looking forward to the game Saturday."

The manager has been pleased with his side on the whole in the league this season, and is preparing to take on Jaap Stam's Reading side next, and feels his side have a good opportunity to add their points tally on home turf.

"I think we've performed well in the main, I think we've had two really good performances out of three. At Derby I think we did ok but not quite enough to win the match, we were disappointed to lose it on a penalty but we've got another great opportunity now to go and try and get another three points on the board.

"I think their style has obviously changed significantly, they make a lot of passes, try and retain the ball, their possession stats have been really high since Jaap has been in there.

"I think it's certainly a team that you can go and get at and you can try and hurt them. Preston played really well against them last season and that's a game that I will be watching before we play and we will set up and go and try to win the game.

"Hopefully the fans will be quite pleased with how we've equipped ourselves so far, we've played some difficult games so far and we've done well so hopefully they will turn out in their droves and support us and hopefully cheer across the line."

The gaffer will have Ben Pearson available after he served a one-match suspension after his sending off at Leeds United, and the manager has reiterated the midfielder's importance to his side.

"I don't think we've got a natural sitting midfield player like Ben which we are trying to address at the moment.

"I think he is a key player for us, when he is missing we do lack something when he's not there.

"It's a great boost for us, he's an important player for us and he does a specific role so we are hoping that he will be bright and ready to go."

Tuesday night's game saw a few casualties in the form of Paul Gallagher and Greg Cunningham, Gallagher with a knock to the back of the head and Cunningham with a knee injury. Ahead of the weekend, the manager gave an update on the pair and is hopeful that stand-in skipper Greg will be available.

"Paul has got concussion and a bit of whiplash at the moment so we just need to monitor him and hopefully he gets turned around pretty quickly.

"Greg is another one we need to keep an eye on, it's certainly not anything serious, but we are just hoping that he will be fully recovered for the game on Saturday."

Hear more from the manager on iFollow in the video above.


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