Preston travel to the KCOM Stadium tonight, taking on Hull City away from home.
North End lost 1-0 at Derby County on Saturday afternoon, meaning a response tonight is vital. Closing the gap to the automatic promotion places would be ideal, especially ahead of Monday’s meeting with West Brom.
It won’t be easy though. Hull have won three of their last five games, and have claimed impressive wins over Fulham and Nottingham Forest recently.
Preston beat Hull on penalties in the Carabao Cup back in August, but were 2-0 up before throwing away the lead. Further back, Neil met Hull boss Grant McCann in January’s FA Cup tie with Doncaster Rovers, and McCann’s side ran riot in a 3-1 win at Deepdale.
The warning signs are there that this will be a tough game. In Jarrod Bowen, Hull have one of the Championship’s most dangerous players, and keeping him quiet will be a tough ask.
Ahead of tonight’s game, Hull boss McCann has given his view on North End to the club’s official website, suggesting Neil’s side have been ‘excellent’ so far this season.
McCann added that Preston are achieving with the type of model Hull want to push for, and they aspire to be in Preston’s position off the back of recruiting hungry players, which is a huge compliment to how North End have gone about their business in recent years.
“We’re facing one of the division’s leading sides this evening,” said McCann. “Preston have been excellent so far this season and have a real hunger and work ethic about them. They are achieving something similar to what we are looking to do in terms of recruiting well and bringing in players with a real hunger and desire to be the best that they can be.”
“They will certainly give us a tough test tonight as they look to maintain their position in the top three. That is somewhere that we aspire to be and, as we have already shown, we are more than capable against the division’s current top sides. Our last two home performances, against Derby County and West Bromwich Albion, have been excellent and it is that level that we will be looking to produce again tonight,” he added.