Paul Gallagher’s class makes the difference says Preston North End boss Alex Neil

Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher
Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher

Alex Neil has dished out the praise to Paul Gallagher for a ‘first-class’ performance in Preston’s win at Millwall.

The old head of the North End team set up all three goals at The Den.

It was Gallagher’s through ball for the third goal scored by Sean Maguire which caught the eye in particular.

He took the weight off a loose ball and played a fine first-time pass to send Maguire in.

In recent weeks, there has been a shift to the left for Gallagher.

His move to a tucked-in role on the left wing has allowed Alan Browne and Brad Potts to form an attacking partnership in the middle behind the striker.

It is not a winger’s role as such for Gallagher – he is 
encouraged to move inside to find space to play in.

North End manager Neil said: “Gally was brilliant for us at Millwall.

“He played off the left for us but we gave him licence to drift.

“When you try and lock on as the opposition, he always finds those pockets to play.

“Gally has a wand of a right foot. He has got the best trait as a player that you can have in that he affects games – affects them regularly for us. On Saturday he had a hand in every goal.

“His pass for Sean Maguire was absolutely sublime – he took the pace off the ball and stunned it into Sean’s path.

“He has been terrific for us, his attitude is first class.”

The first two goals in the Millwall win had come from Gallagher set-pieces.

It was his fourth-minute free-kick which was volleyed home by Andrew Hughes.

Then a corner he delivered from the right found its way through to Tom Clarke to head in.

Gallagher was subbed in the 72nd minute at the weekend, with Lukas Nmecha coming off the bench to provide fresh legs down that side of the pitch.

“Unfortunately for us in the second half, Mahlon Romeo was running the legs off Gally so I had to take him off,” said Neil. To stop Romeo hurting us down that side, I needed to put Lukas on to keep him in.

“That worked well for us and stopped that threat.”

Gallagher has started the last seven games.

He was an unused sub for the start of the unbeaten run against Swansea on January 15 but prior to that he had started 11 matches in a row.

Next up for North End is a Deepdale clash with Bristol City on Saturday.

While it a clear midweek for Preston, the Robins face Birmingham on Tuesday.