Preston North End boss says work is on-going ahead of January transfer window

Preston manager Alex Neil says recruitment and squad strengthening is constantly on his radar.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil

Preston North End manager Alex Neil

Although it is another two months before clubs can do business, Neil has not taken his eye off the market since the summer transfer window closed at the end of August.

Neil and his staff regularly take in games at varying levels, the Scot taking advantage of a clear midweek to watch AFC Fylde’s 1-0 win over Gateshead at Mill Farm on Tuesday night.

It is not always the case of going to run the rule over a specific target, sometimes it is just to get a general picture of what is out there.

“To be honest, our work hasn’t stopped from the last transfer window,” said Neil.

Preston manager Alex Neil has been scouting games ahead of the January transfer window

Preston manager Alex Neil has been scouting games ahead of the January transfer window

“Everyone is aware that we were a bit disappointed to have missed out on a target or two then. That is something we want to try and remedy in the January window.

“Before I came to manage in England, the window was something a bit foreign to me because at Hamilton we only signed free transfers.

“The biggest expenditure was probably the pencil we signed the forms with!

“Whereas coming down here, recruitment and finding players is as important at times as what happens on the pitch.

“It is continuous and is the same for all clubs.”

With regards what North End might do in January, it is likely they will revisit the hunt for a targetman striker.

That has been ongoing for the best part of a year, before and since the sale of Jordan Hugill to West Ham.

Bearing in mind the goals-against record this term, some defensive reinforcement could be done.

With Billy Bodin and Josh Harrop sidelined by long-term knee injuries, there is scope for adding to the midfield and wide positions. Said Neil: “We are always out watching games.

“We were out at games on Tuesday night, I was at 
AFC Fylde against Gateshead.

“We watch a whole variety of levels to basically try and gather as much information on players as we can.

“We might go to a game and a player catches your eye who you didn’t expect to.

“If you are not there, you were never going to see it.

“On Tuesday we had staff at other games, whenever there is a card on we will cover as many games as possible.

“That just gives the club the biggest idea of what is out there.

“It hopefully gives us the best chance of cherry-picking the best talent we can find for what we can afford when it becomes available.”

On the fitness front, Neil has reported no fresh injuries ahead of the weekend visit to Ipswich – Brandon Barker 
and Ryan Ledson should return.