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First Team News

Alex Neil Says Senior Players Have Crucial Roles To Play

29 November 2018

Preston North End manager Alex Neil has presided over a nine-game unbeaten spell of late, the longest current run in the Championship.

Ticket News

Ticket Information: Birmingham City

29 November 2018
And speaking to iFollow PNE as his side look to make it ten at Birmingham City this weekend, he has spoken about the role played by his senior players in recent weeks.
 
Tom Clarke and Pauls, Gallagher and Huntington, have been the spine of a team that has dominated games and picked up some excellent results and the gaffer feels their experience is something the younger members of the squad are learning from.
 
“Tom Clarke, Paul Gallagher and Paul Huntington have been crucial for us,” said Alex. “They are the lads who set the standards. They are the older lads who go and make sure that all the bits of the game that might look that little bit ugly get done.
“Their experience of knowing when to turn the ball, knowing when to take a touch or when to squeeze the game and making sure the other lads are switched on and doing their jobs in the match.
First Team News

Match Coverage: Birmingham City

29 November 2018
“We have a really good blend here. We have experienced lads who have been across the course and know what to do and how to get it done and we have some exciting young players, some of whom are starting to come into their peak at the moment – Alan Browne, Ben Pearson, Ben Davies and Callum Robinson, who is obviously injured at the moment.
 
“We then have the younger kids again like Jordan Storey and Josh Earl who are just finding their way in the game and getting as many minutes as they can.
 
“I think our blend is really good and all our players, regardless of where they are on the spectrum, are performing well for us this season.”
 
The Lilywhites look to continue their excellent recent form at St Andrews, where they are unbeaten in the last nine years, and the PNE chief reflected on his trip to the second city last season, where his side picked up their first away win under his management.
 
It was the last game in charge of the Blues for current jungle-dweller Harry Redknapp, and the Alex remembers it as a Jekyll and Hyde display for his team and one where the hairdryer treatment synonymous with another Scottish manager, paid dividends.
 
“The first half was a poor performance from us and they played pretty well,” he recalled. “I remember I gave them a bit of a rocket at half-time and the outstanding performance that comes to mind was from Daniel Johnson – he was exceptional on the day.
“Any game where you win is pleasing, but it was the manner in which we won it that was good.
First Team News

Memorable Match: Birmingham City

29 November 2018
“Harry was there, who has had a glittering career as a manager, so it is always good to pit your wits against the guys who have done it for a long time.”
 
It is a very different Birmingham City the Lilywhites face on Saturday though and the manager, who has seen plenty of his opponents at the weekend, has been impressed by what they have done and the use of the assets at his disposal by opposite number Garry Monk.
 
“What Garry has done it that he has played to his team’s strengths.
 
“When you have someone like Jutkiewicz, you get the ball up to him. The big man, little man combination was synonymous back in the day with teams, but it just shows you that some of the older methods are the best and they should be happy with what they have done this year.
“In the first six games of the season, I saw then three or four times and they were so unfortunate that they didn’t win some of those games. I remember Bolton where Will Buckley handballed the ball into the net and the referee didn’t see it, the Swansea game they battered Swansea and should have won it quite comfortably.
First Team News

Ref Watch: Birmingham City

29 November 2018
“They have methods of how they play and they do it very, very well, so it is going to be a tough match.
 
"They are not too dissimilar to ourselves, in that they have a tight squad – which I think is good to work with, because all of the lads feel they have a genuine chance of being involved regularly – and it brings that camaraderie together as well and you can see that Birmingham certainly have that,” he added.

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