Attitude delights Deepdale boss

Greg Cunningham will captain PNE in Tom Clarke's absence
Greg Cunningham will captain PNE in Tom Clarke's absence

Alex Neil says the Preston squad has been a joy to work with since he took the reins at Deepdale.

It is three weeks since he was appointed PNE boss and in that time has worked hard with the players to get them playing the way he wants.

The preparation for the new season continues tonight at Deepdale when Neil’s men face Burnley (7.45pm).

Neil told the Post: “Every game and every day I see as an opportunity for us to try and improve and do more of the stuff I want us to bed in.

“The players’ attitude and appetite to get that work done has been fantastic,

“After the Newcastle game on Saturday, I told the lads that the only thing you can ask as a manager is for them to work as hard as they can and do all that is asked.

“That is what this squad have given me – they have been good to work with.

“I’m absolutely loving it here, I’m enjoying working with the lads every day.

“You can see that they are enjoying their work – they love to listen to what I have to say.

“They are a hard-working group of boys who want to do well for themselves, for the rest of the squad and for the club as a whole.

“It has been a joy so far and long may that continue.”

Neil has announced that Greg Cunningham will be the skipper this season while Tom Clarke is out injured.

Left-back Cunningham wore the armband against Newcastle and his experience lends itself to the job.

Clarke will be out of action until the turn of the year after rupturing an Achilles tendon at Huddersfield in April.

For Burnley’s visit tonight, Neil is to give starts to some of those who were on the bench for the Newcastle clash.

New boys Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor could get a run-out at some stage after their moves from Cork City officially went through yesterday.

Fitness-wise, they should be well up to speed but Neil will be keen to familiarise them with his playing style.

John Welsh might make his long-awaited return after calf and shoulder injuries– his last game was in October.

Said Neil: “Some of the lads who didn’t play on Saturday will get game-time.

“Tommy Spurr and Andy Boyle were on the bench, Eoin Doyle and Ben Pringle only played part of the Newcastle game.

“They will get the chance to show what they can do.”

Stevie May, Declan Rudd, Paul Gallagher and Calum Woods missed Saturday’s game through injury.

Jordan Hugill was also limping when he came off in the 58th minute, so might not be risked tonight.

Admission for the game is £10 for adults, £5 concessions and £1 for Under-11s.