PNE young guns praised

Jordan Hugill

Jordan Hugill

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Preston North End’s young guns got a pat on the back after a youthful side beat Bamber Bridge in last night’s pre-season friendly.

While the Lilywhites team had quite an experienced look to it for the first hour, the side which finished the game consisted entirely of teenagers.

And for North End goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly, that was a huge positive to take from the clash at the renamed Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

Goals in either half from Jordan Hugill and Josh Brownhill gave PNE a 2-0 victory, Brig giving a good account of themselves too in front of a healthy-sized crowd of 1,420.

Kelly told the Evening Post: “Isn’t it fantastic for Preston North End to see these youngsters coming through?

“We had Josh Brownhill and Alan Browne come on after an hour and they were instructing the lads who are just coming through the academy.

“It was great experience for them, getting a taste of first-team football with a decent crowd. What a fantastic learning curve.

“The manager has always said that if players are good enough they will be given their chance whatever their age.”

North End started the game with a mixture of experience and youth, with John Welsh, Chris Humphrey, Joel Byrom, Scott Laird, Keith Keane and Scott Wiseman the older heads.

Welsh set up the opening goal early on, his free-kick headed home by new centre-forward Hugill.

There were plenty of chances to add to the lead after that, Hugill in particular wasting some decent opportunities.

But victory was finally sealed in the 78th minute when Brownhill scored from the penalty spot.

Kelly was pleased with the work rate of Hugill, the summer buy from Port Vale netting his first goal in Preston colours.

“Jordan would have liked to have put a few more of his chances away but he got one which has got him off the mark,” said Kelly.

“It was good he got in those positions to get the chances in the first place and missing them is part of football.

“You can use pre-season to get those missed chances out of your system and get your eye in.

“I thought that his play was superb in terms of leading the line and getting on the end of crosses.

“His was an all-round good performance alongside Jack Ryan.

“Jordan likes to hold the ball up, he’s a big lad but very mobile too.

“You can play it up to his chest, diagonals for knock downs to another striker or midfielder to run on to, or he can take it on his chest to have a shot at goal himself.

“It was a really good work out, a beautiful night for it and a good crowd.

“Bamber Bridge played really well, they played the ball out from the back and looked to play good football.

“We stepped up a gear, got the goal and created many chances. It was a good work out.”

North End are back in action tonight, travelling to the New Shay to take on Halifax Town (7.45pm).