Alex Neil not afraid Ben Pearson will be able to use inside knowledge of Preston North End

Alex Neil does not feel that Ben Pearson can use any insider knowledge to help his new team against his former club tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 8:00 am

North End host Bournemouth in the Championship, with Pearson ending five years at Deepdale to move to the Cherries in January.

Pearson was one of the ‘big four’ as they were known and alongside Ben Davies Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson, his contract at PNE was set to expire this summer.

Like Davies, the 26-year-old midfielder had informed the club that he would not be renewing his deal and was subsequently sold.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Former PNE midfielder Ben Pearson chatting with Alex Neil

PNE boss Neil feels that Bournemouth will know what to expect coming up against his side, in part due to their victory over the Cherries earlier on this season.

He said: “If you deny space, you deny space, irrespective of whether you know it’s coming or not. What he will do, is have an understanding.

“But being brutally honest, if you’re at Bournemouth and you watched our last game against them, you’ll have an understanding anyway.

“When you’re playing any team you’ll know what’s coming.

“There’s knowing what’s coming and then there’s the performance from each individual and stopping it – they’re two different things.

“It’ll be on how well we can do it and how well they can try and counter it.

“They’ve got the likes of Jefferson Lerma in there who they paid £25m for, they’ve got Phillip Billing who has played in the Premier League, Lewis Cook, Jack Wilshere, they’ve got a whole host of players who can fulfil Ben’s role as well.

“I’m sure Ben will be wanting to show his very best to get into the team.

“I’m pretty positive, knowing Ben, that he’ll be chomping at the bit to play against us as well.” 

Many Preston fans tipped both Bens – Pearson and Davies – to make the step up to Premier League level as their time at Deepdale was drawing to a close.

Davies got a sensational move to Liverpool and Pearson signed for the Cherries.

Neil was not surprised to see the latter remain in the Championship.

He said: “I didn’t expect a Premier League move at that point because we knew his contract was running down for a length of time, his agent would have been doing his job which is try and generate as much interest as possible.

“If a Premier League team were going to come in for him, like Ben Davies, they don’t mess around.

“They say. ‘There’s the money’ and then the player isn’t there any longer. There was an extended period of time where that could have happened for Ben but there was no sign of it happening.”