Preston North End manager Alex Neil is hoping his side can replicate one of their ‘performances of the season’ in their last trip to Villa Park.
The North End boss, speaking to iFollow PNE, ahead of the trip to face Steve Bruce’s side, is expecting a tough game, but feels his side have enough to get a positive result.
He believes that the Villans will pose a tough test, but one that his side will be well prepared for. He said: “[Aston Villa] have been a bit disrupted, in that they lost a lot of players who were involved at the end of last season and have brought in quite a few younger players this year.
“They have got Axel Tuanzebe, who was there last season and didn’t play too much, playing at right back; they have got Tammy Abraham up top now as well, so that is the youth in their squad.
“They are a good experienced squad who have players in most of the positions who have spent the majority of their careers in the Premier League, so we understand it is going to be a difficult task.
“They have found wins hard to come by of late, I think they have one in eight, however, they have drawn five or six of those games. They are going to be a good team, they are going to be well-organised.
“Steve knows this division really well, but like we did the last time we went there – where we arguably put in one of our performances of the season – we are more than capable of going there and getting a good result.
“It was a great performance. We changed our shape that night and played in a different manner. I had been to watch them during the week against Birmingham and that assisted us in how we went about it.
“The penalty was probably my most furious moment from last year; I thought it was a complete injustice at the time and it really infuriated me, but if we can go anywhere near putting that type of performance in, then we will be fine.”
And despite recent results, the leaning curve his young side have been on, is something the Lilywhites gaffer feels will assist them in the future and hopes that two good results before the international break can play a big part in an upward turn in form.
“A big difference at the moment is experience, as much as anything else,” he continued.
“We have a lot of younger lads and I don’t think there is any question that over the coming games we are going to improve, because when you do start to get experience as a young player you do naturally get better and better.
“I think we have seen that progress with the likes of Ben Pearson, Callum Robinson, Ben Davies and Alan Browne – pretty much most of our squad. What we need to do now is make sure we pick up points.
“These next two games are crucial for us, to go into the break with a little bit of momentum, a bit of feel good factor for the lads, that all the work they are doing is being rewarded.”