Alex Neil on how many players Preston North End need to bring in this summer

Alex Neil thinks four or five signings would freshen up and strengthen Preston’s squad this summer.

Brad Potts was one of five arrivals in January
Brad Potts was one of five arrivals in January

The North End boss saw his side get to within touching distance of the top six in the season just ended, only to fall out of play-off contention in the last eight games.

In order to build on the type of form they showed in their climb up the table and to improve on that which saw them tumble back down, Neil has identified which areas of the squad he needs to bolster.

He again spoke of the need to add more experience to the squad, a topic Neil first raised towards the end of the season.

“It’s always difficult to put an exact number on how many you want,” Neil told the Post.

“You would always like to add four, maybe five.

“We got five in January which helped us a lot. What you’ve always got to look to do is freshen the squad up when there’s the chance.

“The Manchester United of a few years ago are the prime example of that.

“When United were winning the league year after year, every summer they would bring in four or five.

“Sometimes what happens is that the guys playing in the positions you strengthened, go and perform better than they had been doing.

“If you don’t sign anyone, people get comfortable and when you get comfortable you go backwards in football.

“It is up to the guys who come in to displace the ones in the team and that way you get really good competition.

“We’ve had successes with some of the signings made last season.

“Jordan Storey got into the team in the second half of the season and made the position his own.

“Andrew Hughes did very well, Brad Potts made a real impact when signed, Jayden Stockley added four or five goals to us.

“When Joe Rafferty came in, the performance levels of Darnell Fisher improved quite dramatically.

“It didn’t mean that Joe didn’t do well, but Darnell thought he’d better get his finger out.”

Neil wants a sprinkling of experience added to a squad which in the main is made up of players in their mid-20s and younger.

“In terms of the minutes given to younger players, we were in the top three in this division,” said Neil.

“Ourselves, Swansea, Brentford and Wigan fielded the most young players – and none of us were up there.

“We’ve spoken about this for our recruitment in that we need a bit more experience.

“It is much harder to do than say – experienced players cost cash and we have to work smart to look for them.

“We want to invest in the squad but in a manner which keeps us sustainable.”