Luton boss looking forward to taking on former Hamilton team-mate at Preston

Town chief Graeme Jones is looking forward to coming up against his former team-mate Alex Neil on the touchline when he takes his Luton side to Deepdale this afternoon.

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 9:42 am
Updated Saturday, 14th December 2019, 9:43 am
Preston boss Alex Neil
Preston boss Alex Neil

The pair played together during the 2005-06 campaign when at Hamilton Academical, until Jones had to retire due to injury in the March.

Neil carried on playing until the end of the 2014-15 season, becoming player manager of the Accies, before moving south of the border to take over at Norwich City and then heading to Preston in July 2017.

Speaking about his opposite number, Jones said: “I played with Alex, I was 35, he’s 10 years younger than me, so I was the centre forward and Alex was the number 10.

"So I know Alex really well, when I left Everton, he offered me the opportunity go to Norwich with him as an assistant.

"He was also our captain, when I was assistant manager at Hamilton, but I know what his teams are capable of and there’ll be no easy second in the game, so we need to be aware of that.”

When asked by the Lilywhites official website about taking on Jones, Neil said: "I knew Graeme more as a player than as a coach, but he has had an illustrious career as a coach and I am sure from when I met and played with him, I am sure his thoughts and processes have evolved a lot.

“I have not been at close quarters with him in terms of his coaching and we will just concentrate on what our own game plan will be.”

On what he thinks about Preston, sixth in the Championship after beating Fulham 2-1 on Tuesday night, Jones said: “They are the best off the ball team I’ve seen in the Championship this season.

"They play force football, so whether it's off or on the ball, they force everything and we need to be ready for that resistance, simple as that.”

Although Town are involved in a relegation scrap, Neil wasn't taking anything for granted, adding: "They have a similar type shape that they have been playing (under the previous management), but, knowing Graeme really well, he is really flexible in terms of his tactics and his shape.

"So we will focus more on ourselves for this game, rather than too much on Luton, because they could rock up and play a variety of different formations or shapes and personnel, so we just have to concentrate on what we must do."