Alex Neil reveals why he kept Preston North End newcomer Tom Bayliss OUT of the action at Millwall

Preston's latest signing Tom Bayliss in the dugout at Millwall on Saturday
Preston's latest signing Tom Bayliss in the dugout at Millwall on Saturday

Alex Neil thought it was more straightforward for Andre Green to be included right away in the Preston squad than it was for fellow new boy Tom Bayliss.

Green was named on the bench for PNE’s first game of the season against Millwall, with the Aston Villa loanee joining the action in the 74th minute.

Bayliss travelled with the squad to London a matter of hours after his move from Coventry had been finalised but was not involved in the matchday party.

The deal for Green was completed much earlier than that of Bayliss.

It was late on Thursday night before Bayliss had done his medical and agreed the switch.

Only when the results of the medical came through on Friday morning could all the paperwork be registered with the Football League.

PNE boss Neil said: “I think with wide players in terms of structure of the team, you can utilise them a bit easier and get them to do a job.

“If you are putting a lad in the middle of the park there are a lot of variables.

“Tom only turned 20 in April, he signed on Friday and was up until 11.30pm Thursday, probably later, trying to get everything completed.

“It was a whirlwind day for him and I didn’t think he was ready.

“In training on Friday we had two short games, that is basically what we had done with him.

“We have a bounce game today, he’ll play in that and we will get him ready for the next match.”

North End’s bounce game is against Salford City, with Bayliss set to be joined in the action by Green, David Nugent and some of the players who did not make the team on the opening day. It will be an opportunity for Nugent to give his sharpness a boost, his action so far limited to 45 minutes at Fleetwood a week last Friday.

Darnell Fisher is another who can use the bounce game to get his fitness up after his pre-season programme was limited by hernia surgery.

There will be another run too for Josh Harrop as he comes back from last season’s long lay-off.

Bayliss’ signing will give Neil another midfield option and he is looking forward to working with the youngster.

Said Neil: “He’s got legs and can get about the pitch, he’s very technical and can spot longer passes to open the game up.

“He’s only 20 but has played 60 to 70 games in League One and League Two.

“We are very hopeful that Tom will turn out to be a very good player for us.”

North End host Wigan on Saturday, then make the trip to Bradford in the League Cup a week today.