If he didn’t know already, manager Alex Neil has been reminded this week of the importance of local derby matches.
The Preston North End boss was minding his own business as he wound down after Tuesday’s win over Leeds, only to be informed of the supporters’ views of the derby fixtures, the first of which North End face as they entertain Phil Parkinson’s Bolton Wanderers at Deepdale this weekend.
Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of the clash with the Trotters, the gaffer said: “I enjoy derbies when we win! I have already been reminded how important they are.
“I was walking my dog yesterday and one of the local guys said ‘you know Bolton’s more important than Leeds don’t you?’ and that’s what being a fan is about and at being at clubs when they is a local derby.
“We always look forward to these games, both sets of fans and both sets of players and we are looking forward to it.”
The visitors to PR1 have started the season very well, sitting third as they head up the M61 and the PNE chief says they have evolved their approach and will be a test for his side.
“Their goal last year would have been to stay in the league, having just come up, but this year they want to push themselves on and having watched them, and with the results they have got, they have certainly done that,” he continued.
“I think this will be a tough game.
“When you make a few signings, some of those players are unknown quantities in this league and they have got method to how they do things and how they try and play and if you don’t cope with their two biggest threats which is probably counter-attacking and set pieces, then it is going to be very difficult for you.
“Credit to them, they have picked up ten points so far and that is a good return.”
In terms of team selection; Alex welcomes back experienced players Paul Gallagher and Tom Clarke into the reckoning and after an excellent performance from a team with seven changes in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup success, he recognises that selection will not be easy this weekend.
“The lads came out with credit in the bank after Tuesday, but we have to pay attention to the fact we are playing Bolton this weekend – we are not playing Leeds again.
“Their performances haven’t gone unnoticed and we will have to pick the best side that has the best chance of going to win this game.
“We have to consider the selection in terms of freshness, mentally and physically, as a lot went into Tuesday’s game – playing for 70 minutes with ten men against a good team will take a lot out of them.
“But what it doesn’t do is rule anyone out of the game; everyone will be desperate to keep their place because they will have merited that, but my job is to manage the squad, pick the best team and manage the load the team have had since the season began,” he added.