PNE kids out to chew up Toffees
Preston's youngsters are in FA Youth Cup action when they face Everton at Deepdale on Wednesday night.
The fourth round tie (7pm) will be a tough test for PNE, the Toffees’ academy seen as one of the best in the country.
North End beat Sheffield United 1-0 in the third round, Melle Meulensteen’s early penalty seeing them through.
They had to work hard to defend that slender lead though, keeper Callum Roberts producing a string of good saves.
Everton’s passage to the fourth round saw them win 2-0 against Tranmere at Goodison Park.
Their goals came from Fraser Hornby and Morgan Feeney.
Two PNE players who could feature against Everton are defender Cameron Day and midfielder Leon Creech.
The Myerscough College students have established themselves in the North End academy squad thanks to a link-up between the college and Deepdale.
The scheme is aimed at youngsters who have just missed out on securing a youth apprenticeship with other clubs.
Players get the chance to work with coaches from PNE and continue their education at Myerscough.
North End Academy boss Nick Harrison said: “The programme provides players with daily football sessions, combined with competitive fixtures.
“The coaching and matches are led by PNE’s staff with additional support from specialists in conditioning and analysis.
“Those on the programme benefit from the use of state-of-the-art facilities, with the best players given the opportunity to progress into the PNE academy squad.”
Phil Brown, Myerscough’s head of football, said: “It is based at our main Bilsborrow campus where we’ve built a reputation for our excellence in delivering courses that combine sport and education.”
Three players who will be in Preston’s youth team squad to face Everton, are following their fathers’ footsteps in the game.
Oscar O’Neil, Kian Smart and Melle Meulensteen have dads from a football background.
O’Neil’s dad is former PNE, Derby, Celtic and Wolfsburg midfielder Brian O’Neil, while Smart’s father Allan Smart played for Preston in the 1990s, having been the last signing of John Beck’s reign. He regularly commentates on North End matches for the BBC.
Meulensteen is the son of Rene Meulensteen, who was No.2 to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and also had a spell as Fulham manager – he is currently coach of Maccabi Haifa in Israel.