Loan move will aid development of PNE striker Connor Simpson

Preston North End's Connor Simpson
Preston North End's Connor Simpson

Preston boss Alex Neil says Connor Simpson’s temporary switch to Lancaster City could be the first of a few loan spells to get him match-ready.

The 18-year-old front man joined the Dolly Blues last week, that the same move which Josh Earl made this time last year.

Neil is taking a long-term approach with Simpson who was signed from Hartlepool for £50,000 in January.

Part of his remit is to help develop players for further down the line, not just now.

“Connor’s move is solely about getting games,” Neil told the Post.

“It is game time which he is lacking at the moment and he’ll get that at Lancaster.

“Even when Connor was at Hartlepool he didn’t play that often, he was mainly used as a substitute.

“He is the type of player who needs to play games, it was the same with Jordan Hugill when you look at when he first came to the club.

“Bear in mind that Connor is only a kid, there is a lot of scope for him.

“He is going to need, like Ben Davies, a few loans under his belt to get him to the stage where he is used to playing men’s football regularly.”

Simpson’s debut for North End came last month against Aston Villa as a substitute in stoppage-time.

Although only a brief taste, Villa Park wasn’t a bad venue for his first experience of playing in the Championship.

PNE are looking to have a group of young players feeding through into the first-team squad.

Neil is firmly of the view that a club should always have an eye on the future.

“We are not solely building for this year and Connor is an example of that,” said Neil.

“We have got Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter coming through, while Josh Earl has come through this season and is still only a baby in terms of the first-team.

“The future is bright for the club, I think it is negligent if you don’t plan for the future but it is amazing how many clubs don’t.

“I will tell you the reason why some don’t, it is because many managers see that they only have the job for two or three seasons, often less.

“If you can only plan for one season at a time, why would you go out of your way to sign someone who is only going to play in four years’ time when you aren’t there any more?

“The way we work here, we are building.

“The day I leave, whenever that might be and for whatever reason, I want to be able to look back and think I have left the place in good nick and the team is potentially excellent for the next five, six, seven or eight years.

“My remit here is to make every player better and to win games and I work very hard to do that.”