January window came at the right moment says Preston North End boss Alex Neil

Preston boss Alex Neil might not be the biggest fan of the January transfer window but he admits it has been a timely one for him this year.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 12:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th January 2019, 5:39 am

Neil likes to work with new players on the training ground and blend them into the squad, time which he gets in pre-season with summer signings.

But January is a different beast, new buys tending to get pitched straight in.

That was the case in last week’s draw with Swansea when Brad Potts and Jayden Stockley were named in the starting line-up.

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Brad Potts has a shot on his Preston North End debut against Swansea City at Deepdale last Saturday

However, Connor Ripley was on the bench and Josh Ginnelly did not make the squad.

Neil said: “It was absolute necessity to strengthen. It is not something I prefer to do in January, the reason being that you have to bed them into the team.

“There were certain things against Swansea which we did which I know we won’t do a couple of weeks further down the line – turning into the wrong area, that sort of thing. To create that bond and understanding between players takes time.

“You can’t do it over five days training .

“Naturally to start with you are going to be a bit loose, a bit baggy when new lads come in.”

Nevertheless, Neil liked what he saw from Potts and Stockley last Saturday.

And with another week’s training under their belts, they will hopefully be in even better shape for the visit to Queens Park Rangers.

Neil has more shopping to do before the month is out.

He wants a right-back and a number of options have been checked out.

Preston’s buying model has tended to see them recruit from Leagues One and Two.

Said Neil: “We generally shop for guys who haven’t done it at this level yet.

“The guys who have done it at this level, we can’t afford.

“We bring them in, hope they adapt and flourish with us at this level – that is where we are at.”