‘At the moment there are too many negative vibes’ - Neil unhappy ahead of City reunion
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Former Norwich City boss Alex Neil is targeting a league and cup double this week to get Preston’s season up and running.
North End face Derby in the League Cup on Tuesday before he returns to Norfolk for Saturday’s Carrow Road Championship opener. Neil has guided the Lilywhites to two top half finishes but cut a frustrated figure after Saturday’s 1-0 opening day home defeat to Swansea.
Neil refused to discuss the reason behind the absence of key midfielder Daniel Johnson amid transfer speculation touting him with a move to Rangers.
“I think at the moment there are too many negative vibes around us and the best way to eradicate that would be to win the next game, and if we win that, then again on Saturday,” he said. “It can make everyone feel a lot better about themselves, that’s what winning games can do.
“We lost our first game of the season last year and it spurred us on to go on a really good run so we need to focus on doing that now and I’ve said that to the players.
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“I think having watched the game back, in terms of overall how we played we weren’t as bad as I thought, we just lacked that cutting edge.
“There will be some lads who will feel a little bit aggrieved that they didn’t start on Saturday and some of them will have an opportunity to come in and show what they can do tomorrow night. We want to win the game.
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“Hopefully the lads who play give a good account of themselves and then we will see where we are for Saturday.
“DJ will be in contention for tomorrow’s game.”
Neil was appointed Preston boss in July 2017 after a two year stint at Norwich. The Scot memorably led the Canaries to the Premier League via the Championship play-off final in 2015 but like Daniel Farke was unable to keep the club up the following season.
The 39-year-old has won one of his five meetings with his former club, a 3-1 home win at Deepdale during Norwich’s title-winning season at this level in 2019.