Still much to work on, but a considerably better performance was the sentiment from Alex Neil this evening with North End and Bolton Wanderers playing out a goalless draw in front of the cameras on Sky.
North End went into the game in difficult form and a lengthy injury list to match, adding to the importance of tonight’s all north west affair.
The Lilywhites had chances, particularly in the first half to seize the initiative as did Bolton, but in the end neither side could break the deadlock at Deepdale, and manager Neil was satisfied with the performance.
“I felt that in the first half that we had two or three good opportunities where we could have scored and it was perhaps a lack of composure or poor finishing from us, but I thought our first half performance was a lot better than what it has been.
“We wanted to keep back to keeping clean sheets, and we’ve obviously had to change the front line as well.
“We had good spells in particular the first half but I’m a bit disappointed that we couldn’t keep that up in the second half, but we didn’t want to lose the game, we wanted to win it hence the reason why I put Josh Harrop on at the end but second half we weren’t as potent as I’d have liked.”
The lack of attacking threat in the second half may have been down to players featuring tonight who hadn’t had much game time previously, and Neil was pleased with the endeavour shown from some of the players who weren’t neccessarily fully match fit this evening.
Neil continued: "There was a few that looked as though they were tiring towards the end, Kevin O’Connor was struggling, I had to take Gally off as he’d ran his race, even Stephy at the top end of the pitch looked like he was tiring as well.
“Calum Woods has done great to get through the 90 minutes as he’s trained one day in the last two weeks so we had to do a lot of putting together in terms of patching things up, but I thought the lads played well in particular for certain spells of the game and it’s something to build on.
“The fact is we didn’t lose the game, we can play better and there’s more to come from us. We just need as many bodies back as possible and then hopefully we can improve and get better.
“We’ve had four opportunities and Paul Gallagher’s might have been the better of the lot and he actually said afterwards that he should have hit it a bit harder but Gally’s got quality and he’ll always be a threat when he’s putting those type of balls into the box.”
Watch Alex’s full interview on iFollow now.