Alex Neil is over his sour Norwich City exit as he plots Preston play-off charge
PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:10 20 April 2018
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Alex Neil harbours no grudge towards Norwich City but is desperate to beat his old club to keep Preston in the Championship play-off hunt.
The Scot was dismissed by the Canaries just over 12 months ago, after an eventful spell at Carrow Road that memorably brought promotion via the play-offs at Wembley and relegation from the Premier League.
Neil believes Preston can still get in the shake up for the top six but must beat Daniel Farke’s side at Deepdale.
Preston sit eighth, three points behind Millwall who occupy the final play-off spot, with just three league games left.
“Both teams will want to win, I have no ill feelings towards Norwich whatsoever, if anything I am grateful for the chance they gave me but I will want to win the game for Preston North End,” said Neil.
“I was fairly unknown when Norwich gave me a chance at the club, it came out of the blue and it was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.
“I have good memories, they gave me an opportunity but time moves on in football.
“I met some great people there, the owners Michael Wynn-Jones and Delia Smith I have great affection for.
“I managed to repay them by getting into the Premier League.
“Unfortunately we came back down and we probably didn’t do enough work to be prepared for the Premier League at that stage.
“We didn’t really invest the summer we went up. What we did was to try and catch up in January and I think January is a dangerous month to recruit.”
Neil returned to Norfolk earlier this season in a 1-1 Championship draw but the Preston chief is warning City his Lilywhites’ squad have dramatically improved.
“We’ve moved on in terms of personnel and the team has changed, as it does most seasons,” he said, speaking to his club’s official site.
“We’ve got a good, young, hungry team who have done really well this year but we want to take that next step so this is a crucial game and I’m sure Norwich will be much changed from the team that played last year as well.
“That’s just the nature of football nowadays.
“There’s a lot of coming and goings with players, with coaches and with managers.
“The game has ended up that way – where there isn’t many people that stay for a length of time.
“We’re trying to build a bit of stability here.
“Simon (Grayson) was here for a few years and I’ve got a really important job on at the moment.
“Our most important task is to try and finish this season strongly and put ourselves in good contention.
“We probably have as good a chance as we have had all season to get in to the top six.
“We will focus on Saturday first, see where the land lies after that and then there’s only two games left and hopefully we are in a strong position going in to those games.”