Playing for keeps at PNE

PNE's ex-Manchester United and WBA keeper Anders Lindegaard
PNE's ex-Manchester United and WBA keeper Anders Lindegaard

Preston goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly predicts a good fight for the gloves at Deepdale this season.

Anders Lindegaard and Chris Maxwell have made permanent moves to PNE this summer, with both eager to lay claim to the first-choice slot.

Kelly is overseeing them, so too youngster Mat Hudson who the Lilywhites have high hopes for in the future.

Having relied strongly on the loan market for keepers in recent seasons, North End went down the full-time route in the summer.

Maxwell left Fleetwood in May to sign a three-year contract and a fortnight ago, Lindegaard joined on a 12-month deal after being paid up by West Bromwich.

“It is a little bit different than it has been for the last couple of years in respect of having the keepers signed on permanent deals,” Kelly told the Evening Post.

“The aim was always to try and make that happen after having people on loan.

“We know all about Anders, having had him here on loan last season.

“I’ve always been impressed with Chris when I saw him play for Fleetwood, so it’s been nice to start working with him.

“Mat Hudson is very much part of the set-up too and I’ve worked with him the longest.

“I signed him when he was 13 for the academy, so we’re going back a few years.

“People forget the lad only turns 18 in a couple of weeks because he’s been involved for a while now.

“Mat has trained on and off with the first team since he was 15. We have got very healthy competition among the keepers and that is 
the aim.

“They work together, they are close but there is only spot to compete for.

“ I have to use my experience both as a coach and as a player before that, to get the best out of them and handle the competition.

“You get to recognise the signs if someone is starting to get frustrated.

“As a player, I experienced being both first-choice and the No.2.”

The North End squad spent the week at Fota Island in Ireland, flying back last night.

Kelly enjoyed the intensive few days of work, which built on the training done at Springfields.

“We have worked hard and had some really tough sessions,” said Kelly.

“The day before the Fulham game, the lads had three particularly hard sessions.

“I don’t work on the basis of me kicking the ball and them catching it.

“There is a lot more to it, all the training is designed around their all-round play.

“We have a body of work for them to do over the course of pre-season.

“During the trip to Ireland we were able to increase the intensity and do work away from the pitch too.

“The other morning, all the squad and staff went on a 9km bike ride around the complex.

“That was good for fitness and a bit different to what we normally do.”