'They have improved' - Preston's Alex Neil expecting "tough match" against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane

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Alex Neil, the Preston North End manager, is expecting a tough game when his side travel to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United tomorrow.

Preston did the double over Chris Wilder’s Blades in the league last season, although United did win at Bramall Lane in the FA Cup, and haven’t won away in the Championship since April’s win in South Yorkshire.

Alex Neil, the Preston boss

Alex Neil, the Preston boss

And, speaking ahead of the trip to Bramall Lane, Neil said: “"They are a good side, I think they have improved in terms of the players they have brought in.

"David McGoldrick had added something, Oli Norwood is a good passer of the ball. It is going to be a tough match.

"On Wednesday they made quite a few changes so I think they will go back to the tried and tested come the weekend. But we will have to wait to see what their line-up is.

"I think they were a good side last year and are a good side again this year."

Wilder, in his own pre-match press conference, paid no attention to the statistic of Preston’s winless run away from home and Neil added: “Both league games against them last season were really difficult.

"We were probably slightly better than them at our place and then they were better than us at their place but we managed to win the game.

"Sometimes you have to grind out a win and we did that at Bramall Lane - we actually changed shape to match them in the second half."

Wilder, who made five changes against Birmingham City in midweek, could revert more to type for the visit of North End and Neil said: “They have got more strength in depth this season. 

McGoldrick has come in up top, Connor Washington played on Wednesday.

"Marvin Johnson played at left wing-back. They've got options in terms of competition for places."