Preston boss Alex Neil spoke highly of his Charlton counterpart ahead of their weekend showdown.

Second placed Preston visit The Valley on Sunday for a noon kick-off to take on a Lee Bowyer side that have surpassed expectations so far this season.

Just three points back in ninth, the Addick’s boss has built a reputation since taking the reins in SE7, and Neil, 38, was one of those left tipping his hat to the Charlton chief.

“You have to look with admiration at what Charlton have done and also what Lee Bowyer has done as a young coach,” Neil told PNE Official.

“I think his first role was last season when he took over, got them straight up and then has started well this season, so all credit to him.”

“They will be delighted with the start they have had.

“Any team coming up, the aspiration is to be competitive and stay in the league and from the results the players have accrued so far, they have done well.

“They have done it against a lot of the better teams as well; they have had a tough fixture list and come through it admirably.”

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A familiar face to Charlton fans on the Preston team coach will be Pat Bauer who joined the Deepdale outfit in the summer after four years at The Valley.

Despite losing an integral component of last years promotion winning side, Neil pointed to how well the Addick’s have transformed their squad in the summer to remain competitive.

“Josh Cullen, Conor Gallagher, Leko, Field, Hemed, Kayal,” he named.

“Their recruitment has been shrewd to say the least. They have accrued a group of hungry young players who want to learn and listen to the coach and they have performed extremely well.

“They are extremely hard-working, really well organised, a real threat, whether they have got the ball or don’t have the ball and we are certainly going to have to play very well.

“Against teams like that, all you can do is give them a huge amount of credit and say ‘well done’. However, that will be over once the whistle goes and they will be desperate to win and we will be desperate to win!”

Preston Injury News

The visitors will be without skipper Tom Clarke who has a knee injury while Lewis Mount has been rule doubt for the season after undergoing ACL reconstruction.

Josh Harrop is still side-lined with a hamstring injury but Neil hopes centre half Ben Davies has overcome an ankle knock to make the squad at the weekend.

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