Preston ended a run of three straight defeats in all competitions by beating Birmingham City 1-0 on Wednesday night.
North End had lost to Nottingham Forest, Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol City in a worrying start to 2021, but got back to winning ways against Birmingham.
Scott Sinclair’s second half winner handed Preston all three points, finishing off a fine run from Jayson Molumby to win the game 1-0.
That result takes Preston up to 10th in the Championship table, seven points off the play-offs with less than half of the season to go.
Can Preston break into the top six? Well, it seems unlikely right now, but Alex Neil would probably love to have everybody write his team off.
This, ultimately, is something of a transition season for Preston; key first-team players are inside the final year of their contracts, and the rebuilding job has started.
Ben Whiteman’s arrival helps, whilst Neil will certainly hope that 22-year-old striker Emil Riis can continue to grow and develop ahead of next season.
Neil spoke to George Hodgson of Lancs Live after beating Birmingham, and predicted that Preston will have a ‘big year’ next season.
Neil still hopes for a strong finish to this season, but clearly has high hopes for next term, when his Preston side will fully enter a new cycle.