Pottsy's not doing Brad! Preston boss Alex Neil reckons midfielder is returning to form
Alex Neil thinks midfielder Brad Potts is back at the level he was when he first joined Preston North End.
The 26-year-old has been involved in all the matches since the season resumed, starting twice and coming on as a substitute three times.
Potts came off the bench in the midweek 3-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday and scored in stoppage-time.
That was his first goal of the season, one in which has been in and out of the squad.
Asked whether Potts was getting back to the form he showed in the couple of months after signing from Barnsley in January 2019, PNE boss Neil said: “I think he is at those levels.
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“He’s done very well since we have come back.
“At Sheffield Wednesday he made a real impact on the game and scored a good goal.
“He was really unfortunate not to start the game and I had a chat with him beforehand about it.
“I said ‘Brad, the only reason I’ve dropped you out is because I need to change the shape. You haven’t done anything wrong’.
“One of the things I tend to do when we play Sheffield Wednesday is get Alan Browne to deal with Barry Bannan.
“If you don’t stop him, he is as good a creative midfielder as there in this league.
“Browney tends to do a very good job of dealing with him so I needed him in there.
“Sheffield Wednesday actually moved Bannan’s position by bumping him a bit higher up the pitch and having Joey Pelupessy deeper.
“They probably realised we would put Browney on him so changed it.
“We stiffened the midfield up with Ben Pearson and Ryan Ledson and then later brought DJ and Pottsy to give us some spark.”
Potts’ goal in the 96th minute saw him run on to a flick from Jayden Stockley and drive towards the box before producing a fine finish past the Owls keeper.
It’s that kind of power and drive which Neil wants from the Hexham lad.
“The one thing that Pottsy has got in spades is legs,” said Neil.
“If it is a transition game and you are on the counter attack, he can run as well as anyone can.
“Pottsy is a great finisher too which we saw with his goal.”
Last season Potts made 10 starts and scored twice after his winter arrival, before a knee injury curtailed his season.
North End were unbeaten in those 10 games and then their form dropped off.
This season Potts has been used more from the bench in Championship action, with 17 appearances as a substitute compared to 11 starts.
He did start four games in the two cup competitions.