Neil admits Preston need an FA Cup confidence boost as much as City do

Alex Neil, left, got the better of Daniel Farke earlier this year when Preston beat eventual champions Norwich 3-1 in the Championship 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Alex Neil, left, got the better of Daniel Farke earlier this year when Preston beat eventual champions Norwich 3-1 in the Championship Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Preston and Norwich are both looking for a confidence boost from the FA Cup, North End boss Alex Neil admits ahead of his latest reunion with the Canaries.

The Scot's play-off hopefuls have slipped to 10th in the Championship table after four defeats and two draws in their last eight games, losing home matches 2-0 against Reading and Middlesbrough ahead of the visit of City.

The Premier League visitors meanwhile have won just one of their last 16 matches, despite taking the lead in seven of their last nine games.

"It's going to be a game for against a club where I worked for the best part of two years and I enjoyed my time there," said Neil. "It was a big learning curve for me and this will be a good game.

"I'm sure they will want to get a victory under their belt, to give them a bit of confidence and things, and we're obviously the same."

The Canaries lost 2-0 at Deepdale in January 2015, when Preston were a League One club and City were in the Championship, costing Neil Adams his job and bringing Neil down from Hamilton.

A surge to play-off final glory followed but the former Barnsley midfielder was unable to keep Norwich in the top flight and was fired in April 2017 with the play-offs looking out of reach.

"I had good times there and great memories of getting promoted through the play-offs, but obviously my focus is now on Preston North End," Neil continued. "I'm sure Norwich, who are finding it difficult in the Premier League right now, which is a difficult level, they'll be hoping to get through to the next round as well."

The North End boss has suggested he will make changes to his starting XI for the game, with his team still only two points adrift of the Championship top six.

Speaking to Preston's website, Neil added: "It's two things for us, the fact that our form in the last couple of games hasn't been great and there's a couple of lads there hoping to get an opportunity, some of them will think overdue. This is a great opportunity to give them that chance and naturally some of the other boys will need freshening up for how much they've put in to recent weeks, so this is a good game for us."

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