Ex-Preston North End ace Neil Mellor impressed by Deepdale revival
Former Preston striker Neil Mellor has been impressed with the Lilywhites' revival after their poor start to the campaign.
Mellor, now a reporter and pundit for Sky Sports, follows North End’s fortunes from a professional and personal point of view.
He watched PNE’s 3-2 win over Millwall last Saturday in his Sky role and was also at Deepdale last month for the 4-1 victory over Blackburn.
North End have lost only once in 12 games and head to Sheffield Wednesday – Mellor played for them too – in 15th position.
Mellor told the Post: “They had a terrible start and I was really worried for them.
“I would speak to people who had been at the games and the reports coming back were positive.
“The general feeling was that Preston were having a bad time but looked capable of improving.
“I’ve watched them twice at Deepdale recently and at home this season they have been strong.
“I also saw the 1-1 draw at Hull in October when they weren’t great but got a point.
“They are scoring a lot more goals this season and spreading them about too.
“The injury which Callum Robinson suffered was a very untimely one because he had been doing well.
“Others have been scoring their fair share and they’ve not had to rely on one player too heavily for goals.”
Certain players have caught Mellor’s eye in the games he has seen.
Midfielder Alan Browne comes in for particular praise from Mellor who spent six years on PNE’s books after signing from Liverpool in June 2006, scorring 44 goals.
“Browne is a player who I really like – he likes to support the attack,” said Mellor. “If I was still playing, he’d be the type of midfielder I would like to link up with.
“I know Paul Gallagher well and he brings a lot to the side and I like Ben Davies too.
“He is a defender who is very good on the ball and has done well.
“I like what Alex Neil is all about as a manager.
“He is about getting the best out of his players and he’s doing that.
“The fact that Preston have not had to battle relegation since they were promoted to the Championship, is a sign of a well-run club.
“Simon Grayson started that off and Alex Neil has come in to continue that.
“They exceeded so many expectations last season when they finished seventh.
“Preston remain a club who are close to my heart, as do Sheffield Wednesday who they play on Saturday.
“I had a season there on loan when Darren Ferguson told me I had to leave Preston and I enjoyed it.”