Mellor vital for PNE

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Preston North End boss, Graham Westley, is looking forward to having the chance to work with Neil Mellor for the first time.

The striker should be back in action by the end of the month after undergoing knee surgery ahead of Westley’s appointment at Deepdale.

Preston North End's Neil Mellor

Preston North End's Neil Mellor

But it will be a gradual re-introduction to the North End first-team squad, similar to the manner in which Iain Hume has been handled in recent weeks.

Westley has been at great pains recently to point out how vital 28-year-old Mellor has been to the team this season.

The majority of points gathered by PNE have come with the former Liverpool man on the pitch.

Said Westley: “Mells is progressing well and when the time comes when we can inject his quality into the front line, it will come as a welcome boost.

“At the moment we pass like ships in the night, I haven’t had the chance to work with him yet.

“He should be back in full training soon, he’s been working out on the grass with the physio doing multi-directional work.

“When a player has been out for a long time with an injury, you’ve almost got to compare his comeback with what happens pre-season.

“The first couple of weeks they get their lungs open and legs stretched.

“Then you get the early games where they get through half of it.

“I know what it takes to bring a player back, you have seen that with Iain Hume.

If you try and get too much too early, you can end up in the long run causing them a problem. We have to manage them in a sensible fashion.”