Davies may benefit from arrival of Neil

Ben Davies has caught the eye of PNE boss Alex Neil
Ben Davies has caught the eye of PNE boss Alex Neil
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Alex Neil’s arrival as Preston manager might just have been a timely one for Ben Davies.

After three years of being PNE’s loan ranger, the chance is there for the defender to put down roots at Deepdale.

Davies has had four loan spells away from North End since 2014.

The latest was at Fleetwood last season, Davies getting a 26-game run in Town’s team.

When he was appointed last week, Neil admitted to having scouted Davies when manager of Norwich.

Neil got good reports from his Norwich scouts and has been impressed with what he has seen first hand from the 21-year-old in pre-season training.

He will get another look at Davies in match action when North End face Stockport at Edgeley Park on Saturday.

It is the second friendly of the summer following the 7-0 win at Bamber Bridge.

In between has been the six-day training camp at Fota Island.

Davies started the 2014/15 season as PNE’s first-choice left-back but lost his place after six games.

He joined Tranmere on a month’s loan in September 2014, with spells at Southport, Newport County and latterly Fleetwood, following.

Davies felt his five months with Fleetwood last season were greatly beneficial.

He said: “I needed to go to League One rather than League Two again, and with not getting much game-time here, I needed to get out and play.

“I think I played every game – it was definitely needed.

“Any young player has to keep ticking along, you can’t stand still for too long, it’s important to get out and get those games.”

North End’s clash with Stockport is the first between the clubs for seven years.

They last met in August 2010 in the League Cup, PNE romping to a 5-0 win.

That game, incidentally, was Bailey Wright’s debut for North End.

There are a couple of PNE connections in the Stockport ranks.

Goalkeeper Ben 
Hinchcliffe started his career in Preston’s youth ranks.

County’s first-team coach Mike Flynn made 162 appearances for North End during a four-year stay at Deepdale between December 1989 and March 1993.