Alex's men shaping up against Shrimps

Alex Neil says the changes he is making to Preston's style of play are a work in progress and one which will continue at Morecambe on Tuesday night.

Monday, 17th July 2017, 3:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:43 am
Callum Robinson scored at Stockport
Callum Robinson scored at Stockport

The Globe Arena clash is North End’s third friendly of the summer but the second Neil has overseen.

In the 2-1 win at Stockport on Saturday, Neil was very much encouraging a quicker passing game from his side, the PNE boss very vocal on the touchline when it came to what he wanted from his players.

Neil told the Post: “I want to move the ball forward.

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“I know we can have a lot of possession and move the ball from side to side, but I don’t want to just keep possession in our own half.

“I want us to go forward and play passes into areas where it is going to be hard for the other team.

“We need to build the confidence in the group so that they are comfortable to retain possession and also confident in risking the ball a little bit.”

Neil was encouraged by parts of the Stockport game, those moments in the main coming in the first half.

The performance was far slicker before the interval than after it, with North End moving the ball better.

Callum Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen scored the goals, both among Preston’s better performers on the day.

Robinson was used in the No.10 role behind the striker and caught the eye.

Previously, he had either operated on the wing or as a main striker.

The change in role gave him the opportunity see a lot of the ball, his pass to set-up Barkhuizen’s goal impressive to say the least.

On Saturday, Stevie May led the line, with Barkhuizen and Ben Pringle either side of Robinson.

Neil used a 4-2-3-1 again in the second half, this time it was Jordan Hugill who led the line, with support behind from Melle Meulensteen, Eoin Doyle and Daryl Horgan.

Morecambe will provide a step up in opposition for Neil’s men after friendlies against two non-league clubs.

The sides met last year in a friendly, PNE winning 4-1 with two goals from Robinson, while Pringle and Hugill were also on target.

Barkhuizen netted for the Shrimps.