Callum Robinson can be PNE’s middle man says boss Alex Neil

Callum Robinson has started Preston's last two games as a striker
Callum Robinson has started Preston's last two games as a striker

Alex Neil admits to having been impressed with Callum Robinson’s performances as a central striker in the Preston front line.

Robinson has started the last two games up front, while he also played there in last month’s FA Cup victory over Wycombe Wanderers.

North End manager Neil moved him into the middle from the left wing for the 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest.

He stayed there as PNE beat Hull City 2-1 last week and Robinson could well start again as a No.9 when Preston play Brentford today.

Neil told the Post:“Callum, in my view, has played better as a centre-forward than he has done off the left.

“His performance against Nottingham Forest more than merited another game up front – we couldn’t take him out after that.

“Against Hull, once we had sussed the game out, we used Callum a lot better.

“Our best spell in that game was for 20 minutes or so after half-time and Callum played a major part in that.

“He got a good opportunity to score and the keeper made a good save from him.”

It was Jordan Hugill’s exit which has opened the door for Robinson centrally.

Hugill had been due to start at Forest but was pulled out of the squad as speculation arose about his future.

By the time Preston faced Hull, Hugill had left for West Ham in a £9.5m move.

“Callum isn’t going to play like Jordan but his mobility working across that frontline is very good,” said Neil.

“What it does for Callum, which is a good thing, it 
limits what he needs to do 

“When you play on the left side you need to shut down the lines, get into the full-back – there is a lot of information on that side. Up front is a lot more of a freer role for him, he needs to work between the two 
centre-backs and it allows him to focus on his attacking intent.

“It is not a surprise that he has done well.

“Callum has played there in bounce games and last season he played up front in a two.”

The alternative to using Robinson as a striker is Louis Moult, who was signed from Motherwell last month.

Preston have eased him in after he arrived carrying a hamstring strain.

Said Neil: “Where we are with Louis at the moment is that he has come back from a hamstring.

“Callum’s performances have been good and we have won the last two games by scoring five goals after we had been struggling for them.

“I think it would be silly to start tinkering.

“We’ve got good options and Louis’ opportunity will come. He’s shown when he has come on that he can lead the line.”