Preston North End will be hoping that they can mount a serious challenge for a top-six finish in the Championship under the guidance of Alex Neil.
North End finished ninth in the second-tier standings last term, which will be frustrating for some of the club’s supporters, after previously being in a strong position to finish in the play-off places.
They didn’t start the 2020/21 season as they would have originally hoped for though, as they were beaten by Swansea City at Deepdale on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Football League World’s Jacob Potter, former Preston striker Neil Mellor praised Alex Neil for the job he has done with the club to date, and felt as though it would be an ‘incredible achievement’ if they finished in the play-offs this term.
“It would be great if Preston can get into the top-six. When you talk about the promotion mix, not many people mention Preston, and they were in the mix right up to the close of the season, which is a credit to Alex Neil. This is now his fourth season with the club, and he’s getting the best out of the group of players.
“If Preston were to get into the play-offs, then it would be an incredible achievement, especially when you look at the financial situation in the Championship, Preston are way down it in terms of the budget compared to so many teams.”
Mellor felt as though Preston’s strikers need to chip in with more of a contribution in front of goal next season, with the Lilywhites’ top goalscorer last term being midfielder Daniel Johnson, who netted 12 goals in all competitions.
“It’s going to take an incredible effort again and I think Preston will need a little bit more in the final third. As an ex-centre forward, I never want to see at the end of a season that a midfielder is the club’s top scorer.
“For me, I’d be thinking ‘I’m not having that’. For Preston last year, Daniel Johnson was their top scorer, but the attacking players should be making sure it’s them that are the club’s top scorers.”
Mellor insisted that it’ll be a big season for Scott Sinclair, who signed for the club back in January, having previously been on the books with the likes of Manchester City and Celtic.
“I think Preston will see a much-improved season this year from Scott Sinclair. The reason being is because he joined in January and hadn’t played a lot of football.
“He was just getting back to it in that time and I really do think that he will be a very important player for Preston this season if he keeps himself fit because he has that match-winning ability in the final third. I really do think that the Preston fans will see the best of him this season.”