Irish trip timely for new PNE boss

Alex Neil will have the perfect opportunity to get his message across
Alex Neil will have the perfect opportunity to get his message across
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Alex Neil will use Preston’s training camp in Ireland to start getting across his ideas of what he expects from the squad this season.

The Lilywhites travelled to Fota Island yesterday, a trip planned well in advance of Neil’s appointment.

Neil has described it as the ‘perfect’ opportunity to begin getting his message over after having a watching brief for the last few days.

PNE’s 7-0 win over Bamber Bridge will have encouraged him, albeit the friendly status of the clash meant no one was getting carried away by the size of the scoreline.

First-team coach Steve Thompson told the Post: “We had the lads in on Saturday to recover and to get them ready to go to Ireland.

“It is a five-day trip for the gaffer to set out his principles and tell the lads what he needs from them. This is a new era and a new start for the lads.

“They start with a clean slate and will want to try and impress the gaffer.

“Hopefully there will be one or two additions to make us stronger.

“It is an exciting time for the players and indeed for the coaching staff.

“As a staff, we are here to help the gaffer and guide him in whatever way he wants.

“I had a chat with him the other day and I told him what you see is what you get from me.

“I’m honest, I’ve been in the game a long time and I will help him as much as I can.”

Thompson held the fort at North End in between Simon Grayson’s departure and the appointment of Neil – helped by Alan Kelly and fitness coach Tom Little.

It was a task he enjoyed and believed he got the most out of the squad in training.

Said Thompson: “Myself and Kells organised training after Simon left – I’ve got to say that Kells has been fantastic. We had Tom Little doing the fitness side and it all went very well.

“Last Thursday, the gaffer came to oversee training, he okayed what we were doing and had his input.

“He stepped in and out of things and this week he will be introducing his training methods.

“We will buy into that as a staff, make sure the sessions are done right.

“The lads know that they have a lot of hard work ahead of them in Ireland.

“One thing about this group is that they aren’t afraid of hard work.

“Whatever we throw at them, whatever the manager gives them, they will take it on board.

“When we come back from Ireland, the lads will be ready for the next phase of the 
pre-season schedule.

“The Bamber Bridge game was something to build on – it was two 45 minutes played at a good tempo.”