Savage to head PNE's player search

Alex Neil says the arrival of Joe Savage as head of recruitment at Preston North End will help spread the scouting network wider.

Wednesday, 2nd August 2017, 2:55 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:57 pm
PNE manager Alex Neil

Savage began work with the Lilywhites on Tuesday and teams-up with Neil a third time having been on his staff at Norwich and Hamilton.

The 33-year-old’s role will encompass all aspects of player recruitment.

Neil said: “Joe is someone I have worked with at my two other clubs.

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Alex Neil with Joe Savage

“He knows exactly what I’m looking for in certain positions.

“Joe has an extensive knowledge of players, not only across Britain but in Europe as well.”

Savage will concentrate on player recruitment and not the scouting of North End’s future opponents.

“He won’t be dealing at all with future opponents,” said Savage.

Frankie McAvoy, Steve Thompson and Alan Kelly

“We do our work on that front from analysis packages we put together.

“Our players will know exactly what is coming, who they are playing against.

“Joe is solely for finding the best players to add to our squad.”

Savage was a striker in the Scottish lower leagues with Stenhousemuir, Arbroath, East Stirling and Berwick Rangers, before retiring as a player at the age of 27.

Alex Neil with Joe Savage

During the summer, he was linked with a recruitment post at Rangers.

Savage joined-up with Neil at Hamilton as a games analyst and followed him to Norwich.

Neil said: “Joe being here is about making sure we cover as many bases as we can, see the best players we can.

“He worked with me at Norwich for a couple of years and Hamilton before that.

Frankie McAvoy, Steve Thompson and Alan Kelly

“We managed to build good sides there.

“It is a case of making sure we can get the best players we can afford.

“Joe will have people under him watching games and the more games we get to watch, the better it will be.

“We will try and build a database of all the players we have scouted and have sort of top targets so we aren’t scrambling about in the windows buying people who have been recommended to us.”

Neil has now brought in two members of staff since his appointment.

Frankie McAvoy joined as first-team coach last month.

Said Neil: “The existing staff have worked really well with me in the short time I’ve been here.

“I’ve managed to add a couple of guys who I have worked with in the past.

“They know how I work and what I expect.”