Duo ready to add experience to North End’s young squad

John Welsh
John Welsh
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Golden oldies Paul Gallagher and John Welsh have plenty to offer to Preston’s young squad as they return to full fitness.

The midfielder pair, both 33, continued their comeback from injury in the midweek Lancashire Senior Cup win over Burnley.

Gallagher is finding his sharpness after missing two games last month because of a bout of concussion.

That was the result of a bang on the head in the defeat at Derby, one which saw him checked out in hospital such was the concern.

For Welsh, the Burnley game was another step in the right direction after being out since last October because of a torn calf muscle.

With North End having six games in September before the next international break, opportunities will arise for them in the squad.

Welsh thinks the passing range which Gallagher offers, makes him a vital component in PNE’s plans.

“It is good playing next to Gally, you know that if you give him the ball at his feet, he can unlock a defence because of his range of passing and his eye for a killer pass,” Welsh told the Post.

“He gives you everything, he will tackle when he has to but his main threat is when he gets on the ball.

“Gally was unfortunate with his injury last month, he had to go to hospital and so it was good to see him get some minutes in midweek.

“It was a strong side we had out against Burnley and shows the depth to our squad.

“We have got six games in the next three weeks and the gaffer has said he will use the squad wisely.”

What was a bonus for Welsh and Gallagher in the Burnley game was the fact they were able to keep up with the visitors’ younger legs – it was a youthful Clarets side.

Said Welsh: “One of their lads is the quickest academy players in the UK.

“Just before we came off in the 70th minute, I had to chase back against the lad which was good to do.

Gallagher and Welsh’s first chance to push for a return to senior action comes today as PNE host Barnsley.

Alex Neil will be looking for his side to add goals to their game, the eight points which they secured in the first five games achieved by scoring two goals – they only let in one.

The Preston boss thinks the goals will come as they get more used to the change of style of play.

Said Neil: “The majority of the goals scored last season came from set pieces and crosses into the box.

“The way we have been playing means we are finding ourselves three v two, four v three or three v three.

“That relies on a bit more movement, a bit more guile rather than getting the ball and flying in into the box.”