Preston North End boss Alex Neil weighs up swoop for goalkeeper in January transfer window

Alex Neil says Preston North End’s goalkeeping position is one he is ‘paying particularly attention to’ during January.

The Lilywhites boss could well move to bring another keeper in during the transfer window, with Chris Maxwell set to leave Deepdale on loan today.

Preston goalkeeper Michael Crowe at the final whistle of yesterday's FA Cup defeat to Doncaster Rovers

Preston goalkeeper Michael Crowe at the final whistle of yesterday's FA Cup defeat to Doncaster Rovers

In yesterday’s 3-1 defeat to Doncaster in the FA Cup, Neil gave a debut to Michael Crowe who came in as third choice last summer.

Crowe replaced Declan Rudd but had a day to forget, making mistakes for the 
second and third Rovers goals.

Neil explained that he wanted to give Crowe a game to see if he was ready to step in for Rudd if needed.

Bearing in mind how things went, the transfer or loan market could now be an option.

Neil said: “We had a look at Michael to make sure that if anything happened to Dec, we knew where he was at, see if we can rely on him and is he ready to perform.

“It is hard to judge a player on one performance.

“I see him every day in training but a game situation is very different to training day in, day out.

“You need to expose him to the pressure of matches, 
the decision-making of a match.

“What I will say about the young lad was this was his first game for us.

“Michael hasn’t had many minutes in bounce games or things like that.

“Getting distances right and making good decisions comes more naturally with the more minutes you play.

“Sean Maguire has just come back up front but I don’t expect him to score a hat-trick in the next game.

“It is the same for a keeper in that way.

“Goalkeeper is a position we will be looking at and one we do need to pay particular attention to.”

Maxwell, who has not played for PNE since his red card at Ipswich in November, is joining Charlton on loan.

The Addicks recently lost the services of loan goalkeeper Jed Steer who was recalled by Aston Villa.

Said Neil: “Maxi wants to play and if he isn’t playing. he wants to play elsewhere – it’s as simple as that.

“We have been discussing keepers and looking at them in terms of trying to strengthen the numbers.”

Neil admitted North End’s display against Doncaster had been poor, among the poorest of his time in charge.

“In the year-and-a-half I have been here there have been, off the top of my head, five or six games which have been unacceptable to a point where we didn’t perform well enough,” said Neil.

“ We had one of those here, we didn’t play well enough, we didn’t move the ball and we didn’t compete well enough.”