Preston manager Alex Neil tips loan signing Brandon Barker to make a big impact at Deepdale

Alex Neil thinks playing in the Championship for a season is the natural step for Preston North End new boy Brandon Barker to make.

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The 21-year-old winger joined PNE from Manchester City on a season-long loan on Tuesday night.

Barker had a brief taste of this level during a youth loan with Rotherham United in 2015.

He spent last season with Hibernian, that following a year in Holland with NAC Breda.

Speaking at Springfields on Wednesday morning, Lilywhites manager Neil said: “As far as deals go, it was pretty straight forward.

Brandon Barker (picture courtesy of PNE)

Brandon Barker (picture courtesy of PNE)

“I had a chat with Brandon, he was keen to come and Manchester City were helpful.

“His next step was to come to the Championship after proving himself at other levels.

“Hibs were desperate to get him back which shows the impact he had there.

“In key games for them against Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen, he made a really big impact.

Brandon Barker faces the media at Springfields

Brandon Barker faces the media at Springfields

“He is a high impact player who gets at people and hurts teams.”

Neil describes Barker as a very ‘direct’ winger, with his pace a key attribute.

With Billy Bodin missing for six months after suffering a torn cruciate ligament, Neil wanted another wide option.

“Hopefully Brandon can be an exciting one for the fans,” said Neil.

“He will get on the ball and run at teams, that gets fans off their seats.

“I knew him from my time at Norwich, I was tracking him then as well.

“As a kid he was tipped for absolute stardom and we hope to try and help him on his way.

“I know a lot of people in Scotland who watched him at Hibs last season.

“The sports scientist who was with him at Hibs, I had at Hamilton.

“I have spoken with Steven Whittaker who was with me at Norwich and played for Hibs with Brandon.

“We have got a lot of good feedback on him, we've done our homework and we've seen him play in the flesh before."