Former PNE winger Kilbane gives Lilywhites the thumbs-up

Former Preston winger Kevin Kilbane thinks the Lilywhites would be best going under the radar again next season as they look to build on their recent seventh-place finish.

Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 7:00 am
Callum Robinson (above) impressed TV pundit Kevin Kilbane

Kilbane, who started his career with home-town club North End, liked what he saw from Alex Neil’s men during the 2017/18 campaign.

And he thinks some of the bigger Championship clubs hogging the limelight next term will be of benefit to PNE.

“I think it is better to stay under the radar and not shout from the rooftops about what you hope to achieve,” Kilbane told the Post.

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Kevin Kilbane

“Other clubs tend to get a lot more attention and that would suit Preston to just keep concentrating on what they are trying to achieve.

“It is about consistency and if they can replicate what they’ve done this season and build on that, let’s see where that can take them.

“It was a brilliant season for them, especially when you consider the budget.

“Preston don’t have the budget of some clubs in the Championship but they were so competitive.

“What they’ve been good at is looking at other markets to bring players in.

“They have shopped in the league below, gone to the League of Ireland and also to Scotland.

“The togetherness and team spirit was very much in evidence and it is great what Alex Neil is doing.”

Callum Robinson was one PNE player to catch the eye of BBC pundit Kilbane.

The 23-year-old wants to play international football for the Republic of Ireland and is awaiting clearance – he played in their friendly against Celtic last week.

Kilbane is a veteran of 110 appearances for the Irish and played for them in the 2002 World Cup. He thinks 
Robinson has got the ability to force his way into the Ireland squad .

Said Kilbane: “I personally like him when he plays wide and he’s had a great season.

“I’ve seen him play as a No.9 and a No.10 and he’s done well but I just think he looks more dangerous coming in from a wide position.

“You have got a bit more freedom to hurt teams from out there, come inside to link up with the striker.

“When I started playing I used to be told as a winger to stay out wide, use your pace and go past people.

“These days you need more strings to your bow, wingers need to get in positions to score goals.

“Really you need to look at scoring in double figures, that is the difference.

“It’s a tactical change which football has gone through – you would say wingers these days need to be wide strikers.”