Preston v West Brom: Inside track on Alex Neil's side

By Luke Hatfield | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

West Brom take on Preston this evening hoping to regain their place on the top of the Championship table. But what do you know about Alex Neil's side?

Alex Neil the head coach / manager of Preston North End. (AMA)

We spoke with Dave Seddon, Preston writer at the Lancashire Evening Post, to get a proper take on the Lilywhites.

See what he had to say here...

How have Preston got on so far this season, it seems to have gone brilliantly so far?

Preston have probably exceeded a lot of people's expectations, going top of the table briefly at the start of November - they were there for about 28 hours before Albion won at Stoke to knock them off the summit.

They don't have the biggest of budgets compared to others in the Championship but they have moulded a squad which has quality and togetherness - without any so-called big names.

Alex Neil seems to have masterminded this, has anything changed at Deepdale to bring on such good form?

He's concentrated on improving the home form which generally hasn't been as strong as the away form in recent seasons.

A couple of players have come into form, particularly Daniel Johnson, who has benefited from playing further forward in the No.10 role than he had done previously.


The away form hasn't been great but at home they've been very good.

Who are the big threats in this Preston side for Albion to worry about?

Ben Pearson and Paul Gallagher will try and make Preston tick in deeper midfield roles.

Daniel Johnson, if used as a No.10, has the ability to pick holes in a defence.


Tom Barkhuizen had plenty of pace, he plays either on the wing or up front.

What kind of style of play can we expect from Preston?

They play a 4-2-3-1 system and press well, work hard to get the ball back.

Alex Neil isn't afraid to go with different approaches to different games. There have been times when they have played a very nice passing game, relying on pace at the top end. In others, 6ft 3 striker Jayden Stockley has led the line which has led to a more direct approach - 'pragmatic' as Neil calls it.

What's your predicted XI?

Rudd; Fisher, Bauer, Storey, Rafferty; Pearson, Gallagher, Bodin, Johnson, Maguire; Barkhuizen.

Are there any injury worries at Deepdale?

Ben Davies, a ball-playing centre-half, missed the 4-0 defeat at Hull last week with an ankle injury.

Darnell Fisher and Alan Browne were also absent, leaving PNE short at right-back.

Andrew Hughes, who scored against Albion at Deepdale last year, is recovering from a fractured bone in his foot.

What have you made from Albion from afar, do you think they've got what it takes to secure promotion?

From the outset I regarded Albion as one of the favourites for promotion, I like Slaven Bilic as a manager - I like his taste in music too!

They have a strong squad and I expect them to go up one way or another.

Your match prediction?

1-1 draw.

You can follow Dave on Twitter here.

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield
Digital Sports Journalist - @LHatfield_Star

Digital Sports Journalist based in Wolverhampton working on the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.


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