Preston’s 2017/18 season
League Position: 7th
Average league attendance: 13,774
Top league goal-scorer: Sean Maguire (10)
Preston North End came agonisingly close to a top six spot last season, edging closer as the season wound down until they lost out on the final day of the campaign. Largely due to Derby County's resurgence in form towards May, seeing as Preston beat Burton 2-1 in the dying seconds of their final fixture of the term.
Alex Neil and his squad will be determined to make that extra step next season and push for that top six. With the right additions to their squad, and perhaps more fire power up top, they could change a few of the results that went against them and won't miss out by two points like 17/18.
Miles from Brentford: 225
Address: Sir Tom Finney Way, Preston, PR1 6RU
Alex Neil didn't take long to make his mark as a manager after hanging up his boots at the tender age of 31. As a player, Neil had spells both sides of the border with Airdrieonians, Mansfield Town, and Barnsley before returning north of the border to join Hamilton Academical. He made more than 200 appearances at New Douglas Park and helped Accies gain promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2008. After Billy Reid stepped down in April 2013, Neil was handed the manager's job on an interim basis before being appointed the full-time boss that summer.
During his first season in charge, he guided Hamilton back to the top tier in Scotland and then oversaw their first win away at Celtic Park for 76 years. Neil answered Norwich's call in January 2015 and won 17 of his first 25 games in charge to bring Premier League football back to Carrow Road. The Scot couldn't prevent relegation from the top flight at the first attempt and an indifferent run back in the second tier saw Neil depart Carrow Road in March. The 37-year-old wasn't out of work long with Preston appointing him as manager in July last year.
The Key Man
Ben Pearson is Preston's Michael Carrick; calm on the ball, has a wide range of passing and can unlock a defence in one ball. The 23-year-old was North End's main man in the middle of the park last campaign and the Club might find it hard to keep hold of his services over the summer.
Last term he made 35 Championship appearances, only missing out on completing the whole season due to an injury spell that saw him also miss the last Brentford match. Starting out at Manchester United, he left because of 'limited chances' and then found his feet in the second tier. If he sticks with Preston, Neil already has a rock at the centre of midfield before the start of next season.
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 22
Preston wins: 19
2018/19 Odds with Leo Vegas Sport UK*
Championship Winners: 28/1
*Odds correct at time of writing.
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