Alex Neil: Hanging on to players last month was best bit of January business for Preston North End

Keeping his squad together was without doubt the best bit of business Preston boss Alex Neil did over the January transfer window.

Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 5:00 am
Preston strengthened their squad in January with the signing of Scott Sinclair

North End managed to keep away any potential suitors for their star players, while sealing a deal for long-held target Scott Sinclair.

By contrast, Hull City – this afternoon’s opponents at Deepdale – endured a rather difficult period last month.

They lost two of their most influential players in the shape of Polish winger Kamil Grosicki and 16-goal frontman Jarrod Bowen.

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The latter was snapped up by Premier League outfit West Ham United, while the former was bought by Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion.

Neil revealed he has sympathy for his counterpart Grant McCann and admits he would find it difficult if he had suddenly become shorn of the services of players such as Ben Pearson, Alan Browne and Ben Davies to name just a few.

It is fair to say Hull have suffered a fall-out from losing those two players – they are currently on a poor run and have dropped to below mid-table in the Championship.

“I think it’s horrific,” said Neil. “I would be devastated if I was in Grant’s position.

“The difficulty you have got is that do you keep players like that this season and then they have only got one year left on their contract?

“By all accounts it did not look like they were signing new deals, so you probably have to look at selling them at some point.

“Maybe they have looked at it and thought that they’re in a decent position and they can afford to lose the two of them.

“Certainly if I was Grant, I wouldn’t be happy.

“It’s not really for me to comment because it’s their team but if I am being asked the question, I wouldn’t be happy about losing my key players.

“The fact is the team which you put out onto the pitch is representative of you and the work that you do.

“But when you’re getting your tools taken away from you, it makes it much more difficult.”

Meanwhile, Neil insists improving the club’s training facilities is vital to its 
future.

With plans for a new 
state-of-the-art training ground stalling, the club is exploring the option of improving its current Springfield facilities.

“We’ve discussed it at length for a long time,” said Neil.

“It’s really important that we get it started, but I’m what, two-and-a-half years in now?

“I think we’ve had plans, and plans, and other plans.

“For the club to move forward, we need to try and upgrade the training ground – it’s as simple as that.”