Consistency is the key for Preston North End forward Billy Bodin
Alex Neil wants Billy Bodin to aim for more consistency now that he got his new Preston contract signed and sealed.
The winger agreed fresh terms this week to take him through to June 2021 – an extra year on top of what he had left on his previous deal.
Bodin’s time at Deepdale has been stop-start since his arrival from Bristol Rovers in January 2018.
He missed the whole of last season because of a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
A calf strain has restricted his availability recently, his last appearance coming in the 2-0 win over Brentford.
Since then, Bodin has been an unused substitute twice.
PNE boss Neil said: “Billy has got unbelievable ability.
“Look at the goal he scored against Nottingham Forest, I think the guy who he turned had to pay to get back in. Billy literally turned him inside out.
“Now I just want to see more consistency from him, consistency in being available first and foremost and then consistency in contributing to games regularly.
“That is really important for him. His fitness levels can still improve.
“He will be doing a lot of work coming up.
“We are doing everything in our power, as Billy is, to try and get the best out of him.”
The year’s extension could be seen as a ‘prove yourself’ deal, others in the PNE squad having got longer contracts in recent seasons.
Neil said: “It has been a bit of a process to get there but we have got there ,which is the main thing.
“I think it is important to try and keep your key players.
“This deal shows the trust we have in Billy’s ability, for him there is the security of having an extra year.”
Neil still regards Bodin’s best position as being on the right wing, cutting inside on to his left foot.
However, Bodin did catch the eye playing as a striker in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest in August.
“Said Neil: “One-hundred per cent his best position is coming inside off the right.
“Billy can play as a striker too and what you ideally want in the squad is three different types of striker.
“You want a targetman, a link and a runner.
“When David Nugent and Louis Moult were both out, the link was an issue for us.
“But Billy was able to do that –no one can take the ball in better than Billy.
“We have Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen who can play as runners.
“Then you’ve got Jayden Stockley who can hold the ball up and dominate like he did last week.
“Nuge can link it and do a bit of the other stuff.
“The balance at the top end when everyone is available is quite healthy.”