Preston North End manager Alex Neil wants to take another positive result into the final international break of the calendar year.
However, the Lilywhites boss is well aware of the challenge his side face, when they line up against Danny Cowley’s in-form Huddersfield Town side at Deepdale this weekend.
Previewing the game with iFollow PNE the gaffer said: “We have won two games on the bounce, which is always important in this league, you need to put back-to-back wins together.
“This game is going to be a crucial one for us because that momentum and positivity going into the break is important and we have managed to do that this season. This is a big game where we want to go and get a positive result.
“We need to keep racking up points. You don’t win anything at this stage of the season, but the more you can keep tallying up those points and then when you get to January and the window is shut again, you can take stock and if you are in and about that top six, then anything is possible of happening from there.”
Alex has been impressed with the Terriers since the appointment of the Cowley brothers and expects a very tough encounter in this Roses battle.
“They have done well,” he continued. “It is difficult going in when there is negative momentum, when you have to turn it round and turn it into a positive, but they have done that very well; it has been a very good start for them.
“Sometimes, getting that clean slate and a fresh start, as a club and as a player, banishing the memories of what has happened in the past – whether it is a change of coach or a change of mentality, shape or system – that is necessary, because the damaging effects of a relegation season can linger and some teams really struggle for that first part of the season when that negativity is still about.
“They are well organised; they work extremely hard, they get behind the ball very, very quickly when they lose it. They press from the front and they have got real pace at the top end of the pitch, amongst the front three.
“They are guys who work hard and when you give the ball away quickly in transition, they can hurt you.
“[The management] will want to put their own stamp on things and they will be looking to pick up as many points as they can between now and January and then when they get to January, they will have a look and see what business they can do.”
There will have to be at least one change this weekend, with Ben Pearson suspended, but the Scot believes whoever takes his place will grasp their opportunity.
“There are lads who will be looking and thinking ‘this is a chance for me to get into the team’.
“Based on how we think we will play against Huddersfield will determine who plays, but I have never any qualms about putting somebody in, so it is not a big issue for us.
“Naturally, we are disappointed that Ben is suspended, but sometimes that is the nature of his position when picking up some bookings.
“I have the utmost confidence in the lads who are going to start or going to come in. I don’t look at it as having a group of starters and another group of lads, we are a proper squad, but like anything else, when lads are performing and we are getting results, the other lads have to be patient, but when their opportunity does come along, it is up to them to grab it.
“They train great, work really, really hard and will be determined to come in and do well,” he added.