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First Team News

Ali Enjoying Current Role In North End Team

8 March 2024

First Team News

Ali Enjoying Current Role In North End Team

8 March 2024

Ali McCann feels the way North End have been playing recently has suited him, and he’s enjoyed being back in the starting XI.

Ryan Lowe’s side have been praised in recent weeks for the way they’ve pressed high against opponents, especially against the likes of Ipswich Town and Coventry City in convincing victories.

That’s helped them go seven games unbeaten and Ali has featured in six of those games, starting the previous two.

“It suits me well,” said Ali, about the pressing game. “We sort of just thought we may as well have a go and it seems to be working so there’s no point sitting back inviting pressure. We may as well go and have a go at teams.

“Like you’ve seen during the past few weeks, it’s been working for us so I think it will carry on.

 “The squad we’ve got here is strong and the depth we’ve got is good, so regardless if people drop out or come in, it doesn’t affect the standard of play.

“I was out of the team for a couple of weeks and the lads were doing great so I couldn’t really complain. I just thought when I got back in for the Coventry game I just did my best to try and stay in so it went well, so I was happy with that.

“I think the shape we’ve been playing has been helping us recently. The lads up front have been on fire, and Mads [Frøkjær] as well, so it's been nice to get back in.”

Next up for PNE is a home game on Saturday, taking on Stoke City, who currently sit 22nd in the Championship table.

The Potters will have taken confidence from their recent performances, though, having beaten Middlesbrough a week ago and played well at Elland Road against high-flying Leeds United on Tuesday.

Ali said: “You never get an easy game at this level regardless. They’ve turned it round a little bit in the last couple of weeks with some good performances.

“They did well at Leeds during the week so it’s not going to be an easy game. We know we’re going to have to be at it, they’ve got good players back to front as well so we know we’re going to have to be at it to go and get three points.

“We come into the game full of confidence on the back of a good run so hopefully it carries on.”

The 24-year-old admitted it’s been a “weird” week for the team, having travelled down to Southampton on Tuesday, only for the match to be postponed due to health and safety concerns regarding a fire nearby St Mary’s Stadium.

Almost 700 North End fans were either well on their way or already in Hampshire by the time the game was called off, with those travelling supporters having been offered compensation by the club.

On the supporters, Ali said: “It's a shame for them, but we’ll need them on Saturday. The last two home games in particular they’ve been unreal.

“Even when we went 2-0 down against Blackburn, they never turned on us and helped us get back in the game.

“Then against Hull they were class throughout the game and hopefully they’re like that this weekend. I’m sure they will be.”

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