Harrop featured in 38 of PNE’s Championship games but started only 11.
Considered the marquee signing of last summer when he joined from Manchester United, the 22-year-old was perhaps expected to make more of an impact.
But North End boss Neil saw it as a learning campaign for the attacking midfielder and liked what he saw.
Neil said: “Josh had played one game for United before coming here.
“It is very different when you play for United and have a lot of the ball compared to playing for Preston in the Championship.
“Here, we have to work as a cohesive unit and shut teams down, there is a lot of detail to be looked at.
“Josh came through United’s academy where you have a lot of the ball and don’t need to do a lot of work without it.
“That is a side of the game which Josh has really improved on, he has worked extremely hard to do that.
“His work-rate is very good and what we are trying to do is get him to work smarter.
“That will benefit him, leave him fresher so that he can damage the opposition.
“Earlier in the season we all saw the talent he has got.
“But there were times when he was getting dragged into areas he shouldn’t have been and that is why he came out of the side.
“I think now he has a much better understanding of the role we ask him to do.”
Harrop started the last two games of the campaign against Sheffield United and Burton Albion.
Next season, North End will be looking for him to make more impact from the start of games.