Preston manager Simon Grayson felt that Ben Pringle’s performance in the friendly against Stoke offered much encouragement for the season ahead.
After missing last week’s game at Oldham because of a knock, the midfielder made his bow at Deepdale on Saturday.
Pringle teamed-up with Daniel Johnson and Paul Gallagher in the middle of the park, with the trio striking up a decent understanding.
The summer signing from Fulham had a hand in Johnson’s goal in the 1-1 draw.
Grayson told the Evening Post: “Ben is a busy type of player, he is good on the ball and has got an eye for a pass.
“You could see at times in the Stoke game what he will bring to the team in whatever formation we play.
“There was a good understanding between Ben, DJ and Gally.
“They are all good footballers and are prepared to do the defensive side of the game too – they know that.
“Ben has brought something to the squad which maybe we did not have last season.”
North End certainly have the numbers available in midfield, with Alan Browne, John Welsh, Ben Pearson and Liam Grimshaw starting on the bench against Stoke.
Browne was not used, having played the full game in the previous friendly at Oldham.
But Welsh, Pearson and Grimshaw came on during the second half.
It is likely that they will be in the running to start tonight’s friendly against Morecambe at the Globe Arena (7.30pm) in order to sharpen their fitness.
Tommy Spurr could return tonight, the defender having been sidelined by a sprained ankle he suffered against Chorley.
Simon Makienok, Callum Robinson and Eoin Doyle, who came on as substitutes later in the Stoke game, could start.
The clash with Jim Bentley’s side is PNE’s penultimate friendly – they play at Bolton on Saturday.
Grayson has been pleased with the progression of his squad in training and the friendlies.
He said: “In the first couple of weeks we did the physical side of the build-up, worked very much on the fitness and conditioning.
“Since we got back from Ireland, we have worked more on the tactical side and the components of each unit.
“I think you have seen that in the last two games against Oldham and Stoke, how it is coming together and now we have two more games to get it right.
“The Stoke game was a big step up in terms of the level of opposition and the tempo they played the game.
“It was a good game to be involved in and we got plenty out of it, some of the things we did were very pleasing.”
Admission tonight is pay on the turnstiles, with adults £10, over-65s and students £8, juniors £3, while under-13s are free.