ALEX Neil has heard first-hand the recent frustration among Bolton Wanderers fans.

The Preston North End boss joined his chairman Peter Ridsdale in the directors’ box during the recent draw against Reading and has tuned in from down the M61 as financial issues hit the headlines at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Neil has sympathy for the plight of Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin but will be out to make their life more difficult tomorrow afternoon.

Preston are unbeaten in their last four games and have pulled themselves 12 points clear of the bottom three, where they threatened to get stuck during a poor run in September and October.

But as Neil hopes to mount a late charge for the upper reaches of the table, he touched on his opposite number’s situation on the eve of the game.

“It has been really difficult for Phil (Parkinson),” said the former Norwich boss.

“There was all that talk whether they were going to be paid or not paid.

“That makes it difficult to keep players focused on the job.

“People outside football will see footballers are paid a lot of money, so think ‘Just crack on’.

“But football is a performance sport, when you are trying to perform anything you need to nullify everything else out of your mind and focus on the job in hand.

“That is when you perform at your best.

“You see players at their best when they don’t have any worries and everything in their home life is fine.”

Neil played under Steve Parkin at Barnsley and is wary that matchday will give his opponents a welcome release.

He said: “They (Parkinson and Parkin) will keep working away, but it must be difficult with the uncertainty; people not getting paid and you then spend most of your time managing things that have nothing to do with football. I am sure when a Saturday comes for Phil he will look forward to getting stuck into football, rather than worrying about his centre forward that is saying ‘I can’t afford to pay my mortgage this month because I have not been paid’.

“It is not a good situation to be in and the fans have been very vocal about it recently. I have been to a couple of game very recently and the fans were making themselves heard and they will be frustrated, because Bolton is a big club and they will be wanting to get out the end of this, get back to normal and hope everything straightens itself out.”