Preston North End manager Alex Neil feels his side can build and grow from their convincing victory over Wigan Athletic last time out when they return to Championship action at Hull City this weekend.
The Lilywhites’ boss saw his side put four past the Latics without reply on the eve of the international break and now takes the team to Humberside looking to create some momentum when they come up against Nigel Adkins’ Tigers.
He feels that last season’s trip to the KCOM Stadium was a key point in 2017/18 and hopes that this trip could be another memorable away game for North End and the supporters.
“The fine margins in this league between winning and losing are really tough – we have found that ourselves,” he told iFollow PNE. “Every game in this league is tough and this is no different.
“Our away record, unlike last year, has not been good, so that is something we certainly have to try and improve on.
“Last year’s game was a key turning point and you do get those during the season and I felt after the Wigan game, that felt like a turning point for us – the way the lads responded and the way the crowd responded, but we need to follow that up and back that up and this is an opportunity to go and do that, but equally it is going to be a difficult one as well, because they will be feeling the exact same way.
“Our away fans are fantastic; they come and are in good voice wherever we go.
“We haven’t given them that much to shout about this year, so let’s hope we can build on the victory from the last game and give them something to shout about on Saturday – I would take exactly what happened the last time we were there, even though that was a bit nerve-wracking!”
The gaffer is without Ben Pearson through suspension, but welcomes his Irish trip back to training, with Callum Robinson, Sean Maguire and Alan Browne all fit and ready, if called upon.
Robinson, PNE’s No.7, has developed again this year, for club and country, and Alex believes much of that is down to the forward understanding his role in the side.
“Callum is learning his position more and more,” he continued. “He is understanding what he is good at, what his strengths are and he has found that inside pocket just off the left-hand channel productive for himself.
“He has filled out more, he is stronger and he is working harder for the team, so he has just developed into an all-round good player.”
And along with having those players back, the break has been a good chance for the rest of the squad to sharpen up: “The break has given them and a couple of others who had been carrying knocks and niggles an opportunity to rest and then when they have been fully fit, return to training.
“I think it has been a really productive couple of weeks, but the proof will be in the pudding when we get to Saturday.
“We seem to be in a good frame of mind; the last result did us a world of good and they trained really well these last couple of weeks,” added the PNE boss.