Alex Neil wants to grow rather than overhaul Preston squad this summer

Alex Neil on the lap of thanks at Deepdale after PNE's win over Burton on Sunday
Alex Neil on the lap of thanks at Deepdale after PNE's win over Burton on Sunday

Alex Neil wants to ‘grow’ the Preston squad in the summer as he looks to build on the good work of this season.

The North End manager wants stronger competition in certain areas of the squad and accepts they need to be more clinical in front of goal.

He has transfer targets in mind while there will also be departures as he shapes things ready for 2018/19.

Neil will sit down with all his players today for a de-brief on the campaign before they go on holiday.

They will get their summer fitness programmes to ensure they return to pre-season training in good shape.

With Neil not being a fan of doing major business in the January window, he wants the bulk of a squad in place over the close season.

Neil told the Post: “I want to try and get as much done in the summer, improve the positions which I know we need to improve on.

“This squad has done very well and there are massive strides it can take.

“However, without more competition for places, I don’t think improvement takes place.

“If you know there is no one behind you giving you a push then you get comfortable and we can’t afford that.

“It won’t be an overhaul of the squad, that is too strong a word, we will grow it.”

North End announced last week that John Welsh would be leaving Deepdale at the end of his contract this summer.

There will be other players going too as Neil goes into his first full summer window as Preston boss – he only came in last July after the bulk of the incoming deals had been done.

Said Neil: “In the summer there will be decisions made, some of which we will decide and some of which will be from the players’ camps in terms of whether they want to be here or not.

“I will be making it clear to anyone who doesn’t want to be here, we will facilitate them moving on.

“We want our team to want to be here, simple as that.

“I’m not here for someone to tick their contract down or whatever.

“I want a team that wants to be here and play for Preston North End.”

Neil said that with Welsh’s release, it was just a case of time catching up with the midfielder.

“John is a top lad and a top professional, he understands the situation,” said Neil.

“Unfortunately, times gets the better of all of us at some stage.

“John will certainly be able to offer something to a team somewhere.

“Unfortunately for him, we have got some young lads now who I think will take the main stage here.

“I wish John all the best, he’s been great here.”