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First Team News

No Fear For The Gaffer

4 April 2019

Manager Alex Neil feels his squad have nothing to fear going in to back to back games against sides at the top of the table.

North End host automatic promotion chasers Sheffield United and Leeds United at Deepdale within four days, but after an impressive turnaround following a difficult start to the season, the manager insists there is no fear within his squad and they will be giving it everything they have to end the season on a high.

Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of the clash with the Blades on Saturday, Alex said: "We should have a lack of fear, that's probably the word to use, because when it gets to the crunch period sometimes you can freeze because you are worried about not making it.

"Whereas I don't think that even enters our head, I think we have just got to go out and give it our best shot and there's nothing to be fearful of.

"We have worked extremely hard to get ourselves back in to this position after a poor start, and now we need to go and try and capitalise and make the most of it and the only way to do that is to give it everything we have got.

"We have got a really determined group, they want to find their way in the game both individually and collectively, and this season is set up for us now to finish it strongly and hopefully the lads do themselves justice."

With North End facing three of the top four teams in the league in the next week, the PNE boss is hoping his side can replicate previous results against the top side in order to keep in touching distance with the top six.

"If you look at Bristol City and what they have done in the last two games, they have played Sheffield United away and Middlesbrough away and managed to win both.

"They are the type of results that we need to pick up now, we went to Middlesbrough and beat them, we beat Norwich at home, so we have beaten a few of the teams at the top end of the league.

"That shouldn't be anything we fear, we need to go in to the games with real belief and real determination that we can certainly pick up these results."

The first test comes against Chris Wilder's Sheffield United this weekend, and after a number of close affairs with the Blades over the last two seasons, the manager is expecting another tight game on Saturday.

"Chris has got them playing a really good brand of football, and because of their system, they are certainly different to most of the other teams that we face. We just need to go and try and play as well as we can, we have got a decent record against them in the league I think, we've won two out of the three games and they beat us at their place.

"There has been very little in each of those games, there has been nothing in it really. It is a case of who can take that opportunity when it comes, making sure that you get your blocks and your tackles in, win your battles and hopefully they will be trying to imprint their style on us, and likewise we will be looking to do the same to them.

"It really depends on who plays well on the day I think, and I'm sure they will come in to the game with real confidence having had such a good season, and naturally with the form we have been in, apart from the last game, we should hopefully go in to it with real confidence as well."

Watch the full interview with the gaffer now on iFollow PNE by clicking on the video above. 


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