Why Alex Neil will always be grateful to Norwich City

Preston North End boss Alex Neil. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Preston North End boss Alex Neil. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil insists he harbours no bitterness towards Norwich City and will always be grateful to the opportunity the Canaries gave him.

City head to Alex Neil's Preston North End on Wednesday as they look to maintain their promotion charge and the Scot will be keen to puncture some of the optimism around the Canaries following their derby win.

However, Neil admits he will always have a soft spot for Norwich after they appointed him as a relatively unknown from Hamilton in January 2015 before leading the club to the Premier League in glorious fashion at Wembley.

'As I've said before I'm very grateful for the opportunity they gave me because I was pretty much unknown at the time,' said Neil, who was sacked in March 2017 after it became clear he would now be able to lead City back into the top-flight at the first attempt after relegation.

'Obviously they (Norwich) are a good side. It's funny how things change in football because when we went there to play them, Daniel (Farke) was under pressure from the fans and now he's probably seen as the saviour. He should be very pleased with what he's done there.'

Only Bristol City and Norwich are higher in the Championship form table than Preston, who sit in 14th place with an outside chance of making a late charge for the play-offs.

Neil hopes the Liliywhites can continue their recent upturn with a positive result against City on Wednesday.

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'I think the quality of our games over the last few matches has been good. We are facing a team in form, who are expecting and hoping to win but we will be too and so it should be an entertaining game.

'It's a big game for both teams, we want the points to help us to continue moving up the table and obviously Norwich will want the points to keep them at the top of the table.'

Neil is glad to have Ben Pearson back in the fold following a four-match suspension after the midfielder impressed in returning for Preston's win at Bolton on Saturday.

'He (Pearson) doesn't get the credit he deserves, he does from everyone connected with Preston to be fair but not outside of that,' added Neil. 'For any midfielder to get 11 goals by this stage in the season is incredible.'