Mel’s out to impress Deepdale boss

Melle Meulensteen in action for PNE at Bamber Bridge
Melle Meulensteen in action for PNE at Bamber Bridge

As first impressions go, Melle Meulensteen did a good job of catching the eye in Preston’s win at Bamber Bridge

The youngster’s display in the 7-0 win impressed many of the PNE fans at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium and will not have escaped the notice of new boss Alex Neil either.

Meulensteen is getting a further chance to impress Neil this week during North End’s training camp at Fota Island.

He signed professional terms over the summer, one of three players to graduate from PNE’s youth ranks – Callum Roberts and Josh Earl did likewise.

The Dutch lad comes from good football stock, his dad Rene Meulensteen having been assistant manager to Sir Alex Ferguson for four years.

Melle himself started off at United before joining North End three years ago.

Although the victory at Bamber Bridge was only a friendly, Meulensteen took the opportunity to showcase his talents.

His performance was an assured one in midfield, and he was on target with Preston’s sixth goal.

Early days yes, but it was a pleasing element to an overall very good night at Irongate.

Meulensteen said: “It was a good experience to play.

“I had a good few days of training with the lads before the game, getting used to them and seeing how they play.

“It was good to get the goal, it’s always a good feeling no matter what team you’re in.”

Roberts and Earl, who were team-mates of Meulensteen in the PNE youth team which reached the last eight of the FA Youth Cup last term, also played at Brig.

Roberts was an early sub for goalkeeper Declan Rudd who came off with a thigh strain.

He then gave way to Chris Maxwell for the second half.

Earl played the full first half at left-back.

Standing 6ft 2ins, he offered a physical presence and got forward well.

In the closing weeks of last season, Earl spent a spell on loan at Lancaster City.

He was in the Dolly Blues side which won the NPL First Division North title on the 
final day of last term.

Like their more senior PNE team-mates, Earl, Roberts and Meulensteen are looking to impress Neil this week.

The Irish trip is giving Neil the opportunity to run the rule over his inherited squad in a series of double training sessions.

Neil is expected to give the majority of them a run-out in the friendly against Stockport at Edgeley Park on Saturday.