Preston North End boss Alex Neil hails know-how of two January signings

Alex Neil feels new boys Ched Evans and Greg Cunningham will stand up and be counted when it matters most.

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 12:30 pm

Unlike some of the January signings, the pair already have experience at Championship level and are of a more senior age within the group.

At 32 and 30-years-old respectively, Neil feels they bring their know-how both on and off the pitch.

He said: “They’ve improved us in that we have experienced players who know how to get the job done.

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Striker Ched Evans is experienced at Championship level

“When you look at the recruitment that we’ve had, we’ve brought players who haven’t played in a long time in, and lads who are younger players and unproven at this level.

“With Greg and Ched, there’s balance in terms of experience and guys who are proper men, professionals, who know how to get it done.

“They’re good around the place, the younger players can feed off of them.”

Neil inherited leaders when he arrived at PNE, such as John Welsh and Tom Clarke.

Welsh left Preston in 2018 and Clarke last summer and the 39-year-old boss feels that those types of characters can make all the difference through a season.

He said: “You only realise how important those types of players are when they’re not there.

“Paul Gallagher has been one of them for us, Greg was before he left, Calum Woods was a great servant for the club.

“When those players are no longer there, you realise their importance.

“There are moments throughout the season where you’re sort of at a tipping point and you can either go one way or another.

“That’s when you tend to find that those guys stand up for you and they find a way to get the job done.

“Their character, their confidence, exudes into other players.

“Having been a player, when the chips are down on the pitch, there’s nothing better than looking around and thinking, ‘Thank God he’s on the pitch’.

“I think those sorts of characters fall into that bracket.”