Stoke City boss Alex Neil explains departure of Manchester City's Liam Delap to Preston North End amid controversy

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Stoke City manager, and former Preston North End boss, Alex Neil has spoken about the departure of Liam Delap from his side to Deepdale.

Delap, who is contracted to Manchester City and is a highly rated talent at the Etihad, was sought after in the summer and decided to go to the Bet365 Stadium, although PNE were interested at the time.

The 19-year-old played the majority of the Potters’ games, scoring three times, but his departure came with some controversy.

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Just days before he left Neil’s side, the Scot had decided to let his dad, Rory Delap, leave his coaching staff.

Preston North End's manager Ryan Lowe is greeted by Stoke City's manager Alex NeilPreston North End's manager Ryan Lowe is greeted by Stoke City's manager Alex Neil
Preston North End's manager Ryan Lowe is greeted by Stoke City's manager Alex Neil

Delap junior joined Preston on loan until the end of the season last week, and came on as a substitute in Saturday’s home defeat by Norwich City.

Neil said: "I think if you look at Liam getting called back, what had happened is that there are two completely independent decisions that have been made. What we want to do is try to develop the club on and off the pitch. What happens is that sometimes there are some really difficult decisions to be made and as a consequence of one decision, another decision follows if you like.

"It's like bringing in a player. For example's sake, let's say a striker. It naturally impacts the strikers who are in the building and one might think they're not going to get as much game time as they'd like and take it upon themselves to think they need to go to pastures new to get game time."There are always a knock-on effect to every decision that you make.

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"Liam is a young lad, he's 19, he's played 23 times for us. We've only had 26 games. He's had a lot of minutes and I'm pretty sure that he'll go on and he'll become a really good player."It's his first loan. We wish him well. We exchanged texts yesterday. I'm sure he'll do well wherever he goes."

Stoke are slipping nearer and nearer to the relegation zone, with four points separating them and Huddersfield Town in the third relegation spot.

Neil has come under pressure at Stoke but insists he’s trying to move the club forward.

"You don't take any decisions lightly at any point but I think it's important that I try to shape things the way that we need them going forward.

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"I think that if nothing changes, nothing changes if that makes any sense. We need to push ourselves forward.

"I've got a vision of how I want things to look and I'm working towards that vision as quickly as I can in every facet, to try to improve and try to push us on. I don't take any decision lightly."