Boss making the most of Deepdale squad

Andy Boyle and John Welsh sandwich Jon Walters in PNE's friendly clash with Burnley
Andy Boyle and John Welsh sandwich Jon Walters in PNE's friendly clash with Burnley
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Alex Neil was pleased to see more of the Preston squad get game-time under their belts in clash with Burnley.

The PNE boss dipped into his player pool, making nine changes to the side which had drawn with Newcastle at the weekend.

John Welsh made a very welcome return after being out injured since October.

He played the first half and wore the captain’s armband.

Neil said: “This was always going to be the side I picked, it was important to get minutes into some of their legs.

“If you looked at the guys who started the game, a lot of them hadn’t played a lot of football.

“Tommy Spurr didn’t play a lot last season, Liam Grimshaw didn’t, Josh Earl is only a young kid.

“We had Welshy back in the middle of the pitch, while it was a first start for Josh Harrop.

“Ben Pringle didn’t play a lot last season either.

“If you look at it, all in all it wasn’t an easy game for the lads against a good side but they worked extremely hard.

“We improved as the game went on, Sean Maguire have us some pace at the top end and stretched it.

“Once Sean had got in behind a few times, that saw Burnley drop deeper and allowed our wide players to drift in and find space.”

North End’s final friendly of the summer comes against Fleetwood on Friday night and it might be that Neil reverts to a side closer to the one which faced Newcastle.

It is unlikely that Neil will show his full hand ahead of the first-day clash with Sheffield Wednesday.

Said Neil: “Something I have managed to do during pre-season is have a look at a few different combinations.

“I wanted to see players in different partnerships, see how they complemented one another.

“We had a few lads out with injuries against Burnley but hopefully we will get as many of them fit in time to play on Friday at Fleetwood.”