Alex Neil on the players who have made the biggest impact since arriving at Preston North End
Alex Neil has been impressed with the impact made by two of Preston’s January buys.
Jayden Stockley and Brad Potts have featured in three Championship matches, with the Lilywhites taking seven points from them.
Their debuts came in the 1-1 draw with Swansea, then both got off the mark in the 4-1 win at Queens Park Rangers.
Potts was on target in last week’s 2-0 victory over Stoke, netting the second goal.
After the two wins on the road, North End head back to Deepdale tomorrow night for the televised clash with Derby County (7.45pm).
PNE boss Neil said: “The new lads have done very well.
“I thought Jayden Stockley in particular performed well in his first two games. Stoke probably wasn’t his best game but that will happen.
“Brad has gradually got better with every game he has played and last Saturday at Stoke he was excellent.
“He took his goal really well and has scored twice for us.
“Last summer we did a lot of work and, as the season has gone on, we’ve talked about how the squad was stronger but not the starting XI necessarily.
“The two new lads have helped the starting XI and made it stronger. A big factor is that they are a bit older, they have played a lot of football elsewhere and got mistakes out of their game there.”
Preston’s other three new recruits are having to be more patient in their wait to play.
Connor Ripley has watched the last three games from the bench as cover for Declan Rudd.
Josh Ginnelly, who was the first through the ‘in’ door at the start of the month, has yet to make a matchday squad.
The latest buy, right-back Joe Rafferty, travelled with the squad to Stoke but did not make the bench. A third win on the bounce is now in Neil’s sights when Derby come to town.
The displays of late have given him real encouragement and he hopes for more of the same against the Rams.
Said Neil: “I’ve been really pleased with how the lads have been playing.
“The players coming back from injury and the recruited lads have done well.
“I thought the two wins at QPR and Stoke were overdue if I’m being honest.
“Some performances in other games merited more than we got – against Aston Villa we were fantastic.
“At Rotherham in the first half we were excellent.
“So it was a bit frustrating when we didn’t pick up wins in games like that.”
Any involvement Preston have in the final day of the transfer window today will be in an outgoing sense.
The window shuts tonight at 11pm, with the possibility of a couple of the fringe players heading out.