Alex Neil talks up Elland Road atmosphere as Preston prepare for tough Leeds United test

Preston North End take on Leeds United on Boxing Day at Elland Road

By Joe Urquhart
Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Preston North End head coach Alex Neil. (Getty)
Preston North End head coach Alex Neil. (Getty)

Preston North End head coach Alex Neil is preparing his side for a “tough game” at one of the “most difficult venues” in the Championship on Boxing Day.

The Lilywhites make the trip to Elland Road as the second half of the league campaign kicks into action in LS11.

Neil’s outfit are unbeaten in their last three outings and head to West Yorkshire in fifth position nine points behind Marcelo Bielsa’s hosts who remain second in the final automatic promotion spot.

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The 38-year-old, though, says he is prepping his squad for one of the toughest tests of the campaign against the Whites in the festive showdown.

“The last time we were there, last year, we were poor and we really struggled,” Neil said.

“They beat us comfortably and it is one of the most difficult venues in the league to go to. The fans really get behind them, the atmosphere is excellent and their team is a really good team.

“We know it is going to be a tough game, but, like we showed at home, we can certainly get results and we can cause them a few problems.

“There are two things in any game – how you try and stop the opposition and how you try and build yourself.

“Against Leeds, at Deepdale, we focused on how we were going to stop them more than how we were going to build and any good coach, where a dilemma comes up in a game and you don’t maybe find a solution within the game, it is certainly something you would look back on and come up with an alternative of how you are going to deal with that.

“We will be prepared for that, but regardless of how we approach it, it is going to be a tough game.

“They are a good team, but as we have shown against the top teams, we only lost to West Brom with a poor decision at the end, we beat Fulham and drew with Leeds and could have won that one as well.

“We have given a good account of ourselves against the teams at the top end of the table and this will be another one where we want to go and perform as well as we can.”