PNE boss gets message across

Daniel Johnson in action for PNE at Morecambe in midweek
Daniel Johnson in action for PNE at Morecambe in midweek

Alex Neil hopes to be able to give his voice a rest once the Preston squad fully grasp what he wants from them.

The Scotsman has been vocal to say the least on the touchline in the pre-season friendlies and Deepdale will get to hear him for the first time when North End host Newcastle tomorrow (3pm).

He is attempting to get his inherited squad playing a more fluent passing style and acknowledges it will take time for them to adapt.

Neil has been encouraged by what he has seen so far, PNE having won all four of their warm-up games to date.

A much bigger challenge offers itself though, with the visit of the Magpies who are busy preparing for life back into the Premier League after winning the Championship.

“You can see that the lads are starting to move the ball with more confidence and we are getting better and better at that,” Neil told the Post.

“It is such a shift and will take a bit of time to get used to because naturally they want to sit in and be a bit more rigid than I would like.

“I’m nearly losing my voice because as things happen, I’m shouting and directing them.

“It is the same in training, giving them the information which they need to perform as well as they can.

“I’m hoping that once we get it fully working and that things are sinking in, I can save my voice a bit.

“The signs are there that things are coming together and we are moving in the right direction.”

Some of the squad could be given 90 minutes against the Magpies as Neil builds up their fitness levels.

In the midweek wins over Morecambe and Accrington, the majority of players played 60 minutes one night and 30 the other.

Daniel Johnson stayed on for the full Morecambe game, Alan Browne and Ben Pringle doing likewise at Accrington.

Johnson got the night off on Wednesday but will return to the midfield tomorrow.

A tight hamstring is set to sideline Paul Gallagher again but there could be a run-out for Josh Harrop.

The summer signing from Manchester United has yet to feature due to a calf injury.

Said Neil: “ Josh was back training on Monday and I’m hoping to give him minutes against Newcastle.

“Gally’s hamstring is not right yet, we’re assessing him and hopefully he will be okay for training next week.”

Calum Woods and John Welsh are yet to feature in the friendlies, while Declan Rudd is recovering from a thigh strain suffered a fortnight ago at Bamber Bridge.

Meanwhile, PNE fans will be able to collect their season ticket books from Wednesday.

The Deepdale ticket office has extended opening times next week.