Neil feels Preston should be playing to packed houses

Alex Neil feels it is about time there was more of a buzz surrounding Preston – and called on the Deepdale faithful to do their part following a dramatic 1-0 win over Birmingham.

Sean Maguire’s added-time winner saw Neil’s troops claim all three points, moving them up to seventh in the Championship table and only outside of the play-off spots on goal difference.

Manager Neil was disappointed by a home crowd of just over 17,500 but said: “We only go under the radar because nobody cares about Preston apart from those involved with Preston – but we don’t care.

“We care about the club and the fans know how it is, and that’s all that matters to us.

“I was a bit disappointed in the crowd, really. I think for what this team has done over the last 12 games (eight wins and four draws), they deserved more, but the fans who were here backed us and really showed their support, which we are grateful for.

“If there was ever a time to come and support a Preston team, it’s now.

“Whenever you win a game in the last minute, you are obviously delighted. We found a way to win, which is obviously pleasing.

“I always believe in this group of players, that they can get that goal to win the game, and even when the chance was saved late on, I still believed they could get a goal – and we did.”

Conversely, Birmingham find themselves on a downward spiral following a fourth defeat on the spin but despite the shock of a last-gasp defeat, manager Garry Monk insists he and his troops can take it on the chin.

The Blues chief said: “It was strong performance and we cannot believe we have lost.

“We were the best team on the pitch of the two teams. They didn’t have anything meaningful against us. We controlled the whole game right to the end.

“It is hard to take still but you can live with the performance when the dust settles. It is just certain things that went against us and us not being clinical enough.

“The defeats always hurt but you can handle them better when it is like that.

“We looked stronger than them going into the closing moments and I was delighted with the team today.

“It is four defeats in a row but anyone who saw [the game] knows we do not deserve that. The run should have come to an end.”

Maguire headed home from Daniel Johnson’s corner four minutes into stoppage time to give Preston the points.

Connor Mahoney curled just wide from Blues’ first sniff of goal while Declan Rudd tipped away a long-range effort from Jacques Maghoma.

Preston’s Jordan Storey had a shot cleared off the line by Lukas Jutkiewicz late in the first half.

Maikel Kieftenfield could only find the side-netting with a 51st-minute volley and he also had a shot blocked by Callum Robinson.

Mahoney had a shot palmed away by Rudd on 77 minutes before Maguire finally found the breakthrough.