Andre Green and others on fringes given a challenge by Preston North End boss Alex Neil

Preston's on-loan winger Andre Green
Preston's on-loan winger Andre Green

Alex Neil has highlighted the importance of training sessions for the players on the fringes of the Preston squad to catch his eye.

The depth of the PNE squad is such that some players are struggling to get a place on the bench, let alone a start.

With a relatively short injury list compared to the last couple of seasons, the competition for places is fierce.

Neil points out though, that players have come into the team at times this season after seemingly being quite a way out of the picture.

“When you are not in the team your training that week is even more important,” said Lilywhites boss Neil.

“That is their opportunity to impress me and show everybody else why you should be playing.

“The difficulty they have got at the moment is how well the team has been playing and performing.

“It has been really difficult for some of the lads to get in.

“We could go right across the board with that but things do change.

“Joe Rafferty couldn’t get in at the start of the season and he hasn’t looked back.

“Josh Harrop wasn’t in the squads at the start of the season and didn’t really look back until he got an injury.

“Jayden Stockley and Louis Moult weren’t in. There’s a whole host of them there.”

Big-money buy Tom Bayliss, loan signing Andre Green, Josh Ginnelly, Paul Huntington and Jordan Storey have yet to start a league game for PNE this season.

Neil keeps players sharp by organising bounce games.

Last week, North End were due to play Barrow in the Lancashire Senior Cup at Springfields which would have provided much-needed game time.

But the Cumbrian side were forced to forfeit the tie as they could not raise a team.

Green, on loan from Aston Villa, is currently nursing a toe injury.

It has been a problem which has flared up recently, his lack of game time before that due to others being ahead of him in the pecking order.

Said Neil: “Andre is in a position which a lot of the other lads who are not really featuring, are in.

“Who do you take out of the team to put him in?

“At the moment Andre has got a problem with his big toe.

“He’s got arthritis which means he’d had a few injections in it, so at the moment he’s not currently fit.

“However, that’s only been for the last couple of weeks.”

Green, 21, has come on as a substitute four times in the Championship.

He last appeared as a late sub in the 1-1 draw with Leeds on October 23.

The winger started twice in the League Cup, scoring in the 4-0 win over Bradford.