Ex-PNE man faces tough test

Oldham boss Steve Robinson in his PNE days
Oldham boss Steve Robinson in his PNE days
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It is reasonable to say that Preston never got to see the best of Steve Robinson during his two-year stay at Deepdale.

David Moyes signed him from Bournemouth for £375,000 within three weeks of PNE winning the Second Division title in May 2000.

He was a supposed midfield upgrade ready for the higher division above, but things did not quite turn out that way.

Robinson was to make only nine starts over the next two years, and was loaned out to Bristol City for a time.

He was sold to Luton for £50,000 in June 2002, his time there much more profitable.

The 41-year-old will come face to face with North End at Boundary Park on Tuesday night (7pm) as Oldham boss.

This will be his second game in charge of Latics, having been appointed earlier in the month.

It is Robinson’s first job as a manager but he has plenty of coaching experience.

He had been combining being Motherwell’s assistant manager with that of No.2 to Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill.

When the call came from Oldham about taking the job, Robinson was on holiday in Majorca, having a short break after Euro 2016.

The first couple of weeks in charge at Boundary Park must have felt a lifetime away from being at the Euros.

He had only five senior players to work with on the first day of training and much of the time since has been spent adding to the squad.

Perhaps the most notable of his signings is Ryan Flynn, the midfielder arriving from Sheffield United.

The latest addition came in the shape of Cameron Burgess on Monday, the centre-half joining on loan from Fulham.

Robinson’s backroom staff includes another face from North End’s past, Carlo Nash.

He has joined as goalkeeper coach, Nash well remembered at Preston for keeping 24 clean sheets in the 2005/06 season.

What will always blight those memories is the manner in which Nash left Deepdale, asking for a transfer in order to move closer to his girlfriend in London.

He got as far as Wigan in that quest and played very little football in the remainder of his career.

The trip to Oldham will be North End’s fourth friendly of the summer.

After wins over Bamber Bridge and Chorley, they were beaten 5-0 by Fulham during last week’s training camp at Fota Island in Ireland.

Most players were limited to 45-minute runs in those three games but the Oldham match will mark the start of longer periods on the pitch.

PNE assistant boss Glynn Snodin said: “We have done a lot of fitness work over the last couple of weeks in training.

“But it is these matches when the players really start getting their full sharpness.

“We will be looking at giving some of them 60-70 minutes at Oldham and going from there.

“The way we are doing things in terms of how much time we give the players in the friendlies, has worked well in previous years.

“We are looking forward to playing Oldham, they have a new manager in charge who is busy putting a squad together.

“Steve Robinson is a nice lad, when I was involved with Northern Ireland, he was coaching the Under-21s.”