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Preston North End striker Louis Moult is up for the challenge in the battle for places at Deepdale

Louis Moult says the strong competition within Preston’s squad can help drive them on this season.

The squad’s quality and depth was given a boost this week with the loan deals for Manchester City pair Lukas Nmecha and Brandon Barker.

Preston North End's Louis Moult

Preston North End's Louis Moult

Nmecha will push Moult for the central striker’s role, with Barker providing pace down the wing.

Such competition will work in North End’s favour as they look to push on from last season’s seventh place finish.

Moult said: “The gaffer can probably put out two sides which would both be competitive.

“If you are in the side you are always going to be looking over your shoulder knowing you have to play well to stay in.

“There are guys on the bench who can come in and do a good job.

“I’ve experienced strong competition before and have always found it healthy.”

Moult already knows what Barker is all about, having been on the opposite side to him when playing in Scotland.

Barker spent last season on loan with Hibernian, Moult a Motherwell player before his January move to Deepdale.

“Brandon did very well in Scotland,” said Moult.

“He is a fast, tricky winger and I played in games against him last season.

“I know what his game is all about and I know exactly what he will bring to us.”

On the opening day of the campaign a week ago, Moult led North End’s attack.

He worked hard against Queens Park Rangers’ pair of central defenders in the 1-0 win at Deepdale but there were few chances for him to shine for him in the box.

Said Moult: “I like to think that I gave as good as I got up there, I like a good physical battle.

“With how we like to play, the key is getting in behind the back four and getting crosses into the box – we don’t just want to be putting in crosses from anywhere.

“I’m not 6ft 5 and able to get on big crosses in the air, my movement is different and I have to be a bit cuter in the box.

“We are not the type of side to throw big crosses in, we need to work the ball in behind as well as coming inside off the wings.

“That is a part of our game we can mix up and create chances in different ways.”

Meanwhile, North End midfielder Daniel Johnson is back in training after injury forced him to miss the final pre-season game at Oldham and last week’s opener.

It had been suggested that DJ could move on with him now in the last 12 months of his contract, but he remains part of the squad.

“DJ’s had a thigh injury but we had a training ground game against Fleetwood on Monday and he got his minutes in that,” said PNE boss Alex Neil.