Preston North End manager Alex Neil can already see the influence that new manager Neil Harris has had on Cardiff City since his appointment as manager.
The Lilywhites’ boss previewed the trip to the Welsh capital with iFollow PNE and believes that the Bluebirds’ recently appointed boss has already got his messages over as to what he wants from his team.
“I think Neil has imprinted his own style on how they play,” said Alex. “They have picked up some really good results of late – I think they have only lost one in seven.
“Cardiff is always a difficult place to go, but I think Neil has gone in, given them some new messages and he has galvanised them a bit as well, so we know it is going to be a tough game.
“There are a lot of similarities [between the way Neil Harris’ Cardiff City play and his Millwall side played]. As a coach you always have an imprinted style which you like to deploy, although there are always slight variations based on the players you have got.
“There are resemblances of the Milwall side, but equally he has individuals who are different.”
Both managers will be forced to make defensive changes for the 12.30pm kick-off, after losing defenders through suspension, but Alex feels he is coming out the other end of the recent injury crisis.
“Suspensions and injuries are part and parcel of the game and that’s why everyone talks about having a strong, good, squad, because over the winter months when suspensions tend to kick in and the temperatures get lower and injuries start to kick in, it is important you have strength in depth,” he continued.
“I am sure they’ll have to jiggle around their backline a little bit, as we have had to do in recent weeks, but I am really hopeful that we are coming out of the other end of all of our injuries at the moment and we can have the majority of the players fit.
“We had a bounce game this week, which was a good run out for some of the lads. They have to make sure that they get some minutes in their legs, so that when they are called upon, they are ready to perform.
“The lads, as always, had a good attitude and attacked it well. We have had to rotate things recently; Jayden has come in, Nuge came in the team, Pottsy came into the team and it is important for those players who haven’t been starting regularly, that when they do come in, they are ready to go and do their best.
"The job of a footballer is to make sure they are fit and my job is to make sure they have enough minutes to be ready to play.”
The trip sees a good contingent of North Enders setting off early on Saturday morning, despite the game being live on Sky Sports, and the gaffer is looking to give them an early present to come back with.
“Our away form hasn’t been as good as we would have liked this season and that is something that we need to try and improve on.
“We have got more than 500 people coming down, which is a great effort, considering it is so close to Christmas, an early kick-of and so far away; so we certainly want to go down there, play as well as we can and hopefully come back with the points,” he added.