Goals galore in pre-season delights Preston North End boss Alex Neil

Callum Robinson finds the net at AFC Fylde
Callum Robinson finds the net at AFC Fylde

Alex Neil is encouraged by Preston’s pre-season goal spree but knows the time for judging their attacking play will be when the league action starts.

The Lilywhites have scored 22 goals in their five friendly games to date and finish off pre-season at Oldham on Saturday (3pm).

Neil likes the fact that the goals have been spread around, the North End boss particularly impressed with the attacking movement in the games against Premier League sides West Ham and Burnley.

Tom Clarke and Billy Bodin found the net in the 2-2 draw with the Hammers.

On Monday when they lost 3-2 to Burnley, Josh Harrop and Callum Robinson netted.

PNE’s play in the final third came under the spotlight at times last season when some promising moves lacked an end product.

Neil is hoping plenty of work in pre-season will have gone some way to ironing out those problems.

“Our movement at the top end of the pitch has been good in the games we’ve played so far,” Neil told the Post.

“The Norwich team I had in the past scored a lot of goals and were fluent at the top end.

“We are striding to get to a really high level at the top end of the pitch in terms of making a difference.

“There are only so many times that you can say we are a bit inexperienced and need to add that killer touch.

“I have said that to the lads – it needs to happen, we need to learn quickly.

“The more games you play the more experienced you should become, your decision-making should become better, you should be more clinical.

“I think we have seen signs of that.

“At the end of last season we won four out of our last five games which made it look like it was beginning to click together.

“The signs in pre-season are good, we have scored 22 goals in five matches – albeit a lot of them against some lesser opposition.

“But we have played two Premier League teams and scored four goals, which is handy.”

Saturday’s hosts Oldham were relegated to League Two on the final day of last season, ending a 21-year stay in League One.

Frankie Bunn was named manager in June, replacing Ritchie Wellens.