Alex Neil plans to bring quality – not quantity – to Preston North End this summer

Alex Neil says his aim for next season is to turn Preston from a side with potential into one which can be ‘a force’ in the Championship.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 6:00 am
Preston manager Alex Neil wants to add proven quality to his squad in the summer

It will see the recruitment this summer focus on quality rather than quantity, coupled with a desire to keep hold of key players.

PNE finish off this season against Brentford at Griffin Park on Sunday (12.30pm) and then the hard work will turn to the 2019/20 campaign.

Outlining the plans for the summer, North End boss Neil said: “We want to get as much proven quality as we can and that naturally comes at a cost.

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“We have got our fingers in many pies, shall we say, and we will see where that takes us.

“Numbers isn’t really the issue for next season, it is a case of really strengthening positions now.

“It is making sure that even guys who might take their space for granted have real competition.

“That is where we are as a club now, there is no point staying static and keep back-filling underneath that, we are past that stage.

“Who comes in depends on what is available and whether we can get it done.

“I think we are in a better and different position than we have been for a number of years.

“We are at the stage now where we have the basis of a really strong squad.

“Everyone understands the potential we have, we now need to take that potential and move it forward.

“We need to move it on to this being a really good team which will threaten and be successful.

“If we can keep people fit and add in a few key areas with the relevant quality, we will give ourselves a real chance of being a force next season.”

Another aspect of Neil’s planning for next season is a review of the injury record which has hindered them.

An outside audit was done last week, with Neil mulling over the findings.

“We looked at top-to-toe of everything we do,” said Neil.

“That includes the strength programme, all the fitness programmes, the coaching, our days off, how many days off, when we train, how hard we train.

“We have stripped it down to recruitment as well in terms of the athleticism of players we have brought in.

“I don’t think that last one will have played a big part but we’ve looked at it.”

While PNE complete the season in London on Sunday, Deepdale will be a busy place tomorrow when it stages the Dick Clegg Preston Schools’ Cup finals.

There will be 10 finals, the first two at 9am with the last game starting at 3.30pm.

Admission is £3 adults and £1 concessions, that money funding the six district teams run by Preston Schools’ FA.