Coaches weigh up PNE talent

Paul Gallagher has had a good season
Paul Gallagher has had a good season
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Preston North End’s coaching staff have given their thoughts on the Lilywhites best goal this season, and the candidates for the player of the year.

Simon Grayson, Alan Kelly, Steve Thompson and Glynn Snodin were on the panel at a fans’ forum organised by the PNE South Ribble Supporters’ Group in Leyland.

Greg Cunningham and Paul Gallagher were two names which featured prominently in conversation about the player of the year, with there being differing views about who had scored the best goal.

Answering a question about player of the year, North End boss Grayson said: “I think Gally will be up there, he has been great in possession and can execute a pass superbly.

“Alan Browne has done well for a young kid who, only two or three years ago, was playing youth football for Cork.”

First-team coach Thompson said: “They have all been good throughout the season and it is difficult to single people out.

“We have a great bunch of lads, there are no big-time players – they go out and give everything.

“My player of the year would be Greg Cunningham, he’s been absolutely fantastic.

“Greg has shown great energy and has a great leg foot.

“Bailey Wright has done fantastically well too – he has stepped up to the mark.

“Calum Woods has come good too, he has put in some excellent performances.

“For me though, the player of the year would be Greg.”

Assistant manager Snodin leaned the way of Gallagher in the player of the year stakes.

Part of his reasoning for that was a shift in position for the midfielder.

Said Snodin: “It is Paul Gallagher for me, while Greg Cunningham has also been fantastic. Gally has played a different role for much of this season, last year we had him out wide but we’ve had 
him down the middle this time.”

Goalkeeper coach Kelly not surprisingly highlighted the performances of the keepers but he also looked further up the pitch.

“Collectively, the team has done very well this season and that has got us to where we are,” said Kelly.

“For me, it is Jordan Pickford, Sam Johnstone, Anders Lindegaard, Chris Kirkland and that cameo from Matt Hudson at Leeds!

“Greg Cunningham has done very well. He got given the chance to come here by the gaffer and had taken it.

“When Greg first got into the Irish squad a few years ago, I was on the staff and you could see his ability then.

“Paul Gallagher has done very well too and behind the scenes he is a big influence in the dressing room.”

As for choices of goal of the season, Kelly said: “I’d go for Greg’s goal at Bristol City, the diving header when he almost dug a channel in the pitch with his nose.”

Grayson said: “We haven’t scored that many but I thought Callum Robinson’s goal at Cardiff came from a decent team move.

“Gally’s strike at Charlton was a great finish too.”

Thompson looked back to the derby win at Burnley for the pick of PNE’s goals.

He said: “The build-up to the first goal scored by Will Keane was good.

“We broke from our own half against a good side and Will showed his quality with the run and finish.”