Ex-Preston North End striker Neil Mellor delighted old pals David Nugent and Paul Gallagher are still going strong

Neil Mellor and David Nugent
Neil Mellor and David Nugent

Former Preston striker Neil Mellor has enjoyed having a close watching brief of PNE’s strong start to the season and is pleased to see two of his old team-mates featuring in it.

Mellor’s work as a Sky Sports reporter has brought him to Deepdale six times this campaign and he is due back for a seventh visit for the derby clash with Blackburn a week on Saturday.

Neil Mellor celebrates with Paul Gallagher when PNE beat Burnley in December 2007

Neil Mellor celebrates with Paul Gallagher when PNE beat Burnley in December 2007

During his time as a player at PNE, Mellor was a colleague of both Paul Gallagher and David Nugent.

He and Gallagher were in the team in the first half of the 2007/08 season, Gallagher on loan from Blackburn.

The year before, Nugent and him were team-mates at Deepdale.

Mellor told the Lancashire Post: “Gally was on loan in my time at Preston.

“There was a game against Burnley at Turf Moor which we played up front together.

“We won 3-2 and I scored one that day.

“He was a good footballer then and has gone on to have a great career.

“Moving to a deeper role in recent seasons has helped him get on the ball and read the game in the way he does.

“Gally is a big player for Preston and important to the way they play.

“It’s been nice to see Nuge come back and still playing with a smile on his face.

“The fans have still got that affection for him which shows how well he did here last time.

“I thought he looked really sharp against Barnsley in the last game, very lively.

“Things started to happen around him because of how he was moving and taking up good positions.

“Nuge is not going to get 20 goals but he will combine with the players around him and be effective.

“He’s a different option up front. The good thing for Alex Neil is that he’s got a few lads who can play up there – it doesn’t have to be a case of turning the same ones out for every game.”

Preston are currently third in the table and unbeaten in eight Championship games.

Next up is Saturday’s visit to Reading.

Said Mellor: “You can’t help but be impressed with how Preston have done so far.

“I’ve been to five of their home league games and the cup match against Hull, so I’ve seen quite a lot of them.

“Goals have come from midfield – Daniel Johnson is having an exceptional season.

“There is the pace of Tom Barkhuizen and Sean Maguire, while Billy Bodin is a player I like.

“He doesn’t have the pace of others but has got trickery to cause team problems.

“We are seeing more from Josh Harrop, who has scored goals and built his confidence up after injury.

“It’s a long season but so far Preston have done really well.”