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First Team News

Gaffer On Festive Preparations And Forest Clash

21 December 2017

Manager Alex Neil explains the changes to his pre-match preparations over the festive period as North End kick-off the Christmas schedule with the visit of Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

The Lilywhites will play four games in less than ten days starting with this weekend's clash with Forest, and the gaffer expects another tough challenge against Mark Warburton's side.

Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of the game, Neil said: "I think Mark has an ethos in terms of how he thinks his team should play and it's certainly not changed since he's been at Brentford or Rangers.

"It will be another challenge for us, we've played similar teams this season, the likes of Reading and teams like that, so it's not anything that we haven't faced before.

"We've got to try and force our style on to them but equally be prepared for what they are going to bring and make sure we can counteract that.

"At the moment we've got a good balance, I would like to see us score more goals if we can but we're scoring enough at the moment to win games and we are keeping clean sheets relatively well so that's a good thing as well and we want to try and keep that.

With preparation key for the PNE boss, the quick turnaround in games will require a change to his preparations and the manager gives an insight into how things are different over the festive period.

"It can prove to be difficult because obviously the turnaround is so quick. The way we prepare for games, we try to do it quite thoroughly, so there's a lot of work to be done but the staff are prepared for that, and we know what is coming.

"For the lads it will be as much about rest and recovery and trying to get as much information into their heads without giving them too much, but also letting them take a bit of time out between games and letting them get prepared for the next one.

"To be honest they won't get a lot of time off, they will have the odd day off here and there over the festive period but what we try and do is make sure that when they are in, we get straight to work and get the information into them and then let them go and rest from there really.

"They will be in the majority of the days so they are ready for each game but they don't bother with that at all, they love getting ready for games so they will be fine," the gaffer continued.

"I think it's the nature of being a professional footballer, it's life now. The festive period is one of your busiest times so while the majority of their mates might be off work and having a great time, this is our real business time where we need to pick up wins and put in good performances. The lads understand that, there's no issues with any of it."

The gaffer also spoke about the role the supporters can play as the team looks to build on their impressive run of late, and hopes recent results can encourage more fans to get down to Deepdale.

"We've spoken about trying to get more fans through the gates, we understand that we've got to be winning games and playing well for that to happen.

"The lads have been in relatively good form so we are hopeful over this festive period that we can get as much support as possible and hopefully we can put on some good performances for the people who want to come and watch us."

Watch the full interview on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above.


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