Neil likens PNE job to Accies challenge

Preston manager Alex Neil and Bamber Bridge boss Neil Reynolds with the mascots before PNE's friendly at Brig
Preston manager Alex Neil and Bamber Bridge boss Neil Reynolds with the mascots before PNE's friendly at Brig

New Preston boss Alex Neil sees similarities between his task at Deepdale and the job he did at Hamilton.

It was the Scottish club who gave Neil his route into management.

In his first full season in charge, he guided the Accies to promotion to the Scottish Premiership.

What he did there caught the eye of Norwich who lured Neil to Carrow Road in 2015.

The promotion he won with the Canaries was the big attraction to PNE when it came to finding a successor to Simon Grayson.

Neil said: “The challenge I have here is very different to the one I had at Norwich.

“This is probably more like the sort of challenge I had at Hamilton if you like.

“It is more of a restricted budget for the league but what we do have is a talented young group which is trying to find their way in the game.

“My job is to nurture them, collectively and individually.”

Neil’s first few days were spent getting to know the PNE squad, with Steve Thompson taking training.

The Scotsman is now fully hands-on, with him leading the sessions at North End’s training camp in Ireland.

On Monday morning, the squad were joined by Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor.

They were signed from Cork City earlier in the summer but will only join officially in a fortnight’s time. But as part of the deal, the 
pair were allowed by Cork to train with the North End squad.

They then returned to Cork to continue with their preparations for Thursday night’s Europa Cup clash with AEK Larnaca.

Maguire bagged a hat-trick in Cork’s 4-2 win over Levadia Tallinn last week which booked them their tie with Larnaca – O’Connor also featured in the game.