Preston manager Alex Neil has his team planned for season’s opener against Millwall

Preston North End's Paul Gallagher celebrates scoring his side's second goal from the penalty spot
Preston North End's Paul Gallagher celebrates scoring his side's second goal from the penalty spot

Preston boss Alex Neil says he’s got a starting XI in mind for the season’s opener against Millwall but it is subject to change.

The Lilywhites finished pre-season on a winning note, beating Newcastle United 2-1 at Deepdale on Saturday.

That followed a 1-0 defeat at Fleetwood for the other half of the squad on Friday night.

The next few days will see Neil sharpen the players up on the training pitch and getting them match-ready for the trip to the Den this weekend.

Neil told the Lancashire Post: “I have my starting XI in mind but I had my starting XI in mind last year and then we lost Sean Maguire and Billy Bodin a few days before.

“I think it is always subject to change, depending on form, injuries, how they train, their attitude.

“I’ve got a rough idea of where we want to be but I’ll also look at Millwall and see what they produced in their last game.

“I will make choices to give us the best chance to win the Millwall game.”

Paul Gallagher scored both PNE goals from the penalty spot in the Newcastle win.

The Magpies went in front through a first-half free-kick from Jonjo Shelvey.

Preston keeper Declan Rudd saved a penalty from Migi Almiron a minute into the second half.

Gallagher struck twice in 11 minutes from the spot, first when a Tom Clarke cross was handled by Jamie Strerry and then after Patrick Bauer had been tripped by Joelinton.

Having missed a penalty in the friendly at AFC Fylde, it was pleasing to see Gallagher put these two away.

“I said after the Fylde game that it was highly unusual for Gally or Daniel Johnson to miss a penalty,” said Neil.

“I have no concerns when Gally is taking a penalty.

“He’s a quality footballer, simple as that. If you give him the ball he will make things happen.

“If you give him a deadball he will put it wherever you want.”

Billy Bodin was missing from the PNE squad for both of the weekend games but Neil expects that he will return to training today.

The winger has had pain in the knee in which he tore his cruciate ligament a year ago.

Bodin had a scan last week as a precaution which showed no damage but Neil felt there was no point taking any risks with him so close to the start of the season.

Neil still hopes to do some transfer business before the deadline a week on Thursday.

Whether he will be able to land anyone ahead of Millwall, remains to be seen.

They made a loan enquiry about Celtic’s Scott Sinclair as they look for a replacement for Callum Robinson but at this stage the Glasgow club only want to do a permanent deal.