Preston North End boss Alex Neil has admitted to BBC Radio Lancashire that the reliance on adapting to opposition tactics is a ‘concern’.

Neil took his side to Berkshire today, with Reading the opponents. Having thrashed Barnsley 5-1 before the international break, Neil will have been looking to continue the great form into the trip to the Madejski Stadium.

However, North End’s record against Reading isn’t particularly great, and this latest meeting with the Royals ended in disaster too.

(Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images)


Preston looked to be holding on for a point, despite serving up a pretty uninspiring performance. There was a late sting in the tail though, as Jordan Obita’s long-range effort was parried by Declan Rudd, and Matt Miazga scored on the rebound.

Rudd maybe could have done better with the goal, but that soft late goal summed up Preston’s latest struggle at the Madejski Stadium.

Fans have pointed to the international break as a reason for the defeat, but Neil feels something else was at play in Saturday’s defeat.

Preston North End’s Daniel Johnson (right) battles with Reading’s John Swift (left). (Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Reading were under the control of new manager Mark Bowen for the first time, and that meant Neil couldn’t really plan a tactic to combat them.

Neil admitted he had no idea what to prepare for, system or personnel wise, and that was a factor in the defeat. That has been one of Neil’s great strengths this season, preparing tactics to specifically expose the opposition, but he’s now concerned there is an over-reliance on that tactical adaptability, with today an example of how individual quality couldn’t get the job done.

“The only thing I will say is that Reading today were arguably the hardest team for us to prep for, in terms of how we’re going to play, because we didn’t know what their system or personnel was going to be,” said Neil. “I think a little concern for me is how much we probably rely on that now, so that’s something that we need to have a look at,” he added.

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