PNE boss Alex Neil targets a familiar pre-season

Alex Neil has adopted a same again approach to Preston North End's pre-season in light of how well things went a year ago.

Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 12:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 1:43 pm
PNE manager Alex Neil

PNE’s list of friendly games follows a similar pattern to last summer’s fixtures.

Lilywhites boss Neil says the strong start to last term was in mind when planning the matches.

Neil inherited last year’s programme having arrived at Deepdale six days into pre-season.

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Sean Maguire scores on his PNE debut against Burnley in a pre-season friendly in July 2017

He was happy enough with how it went to go down the same route in the build-up to the 2018/19 campaign.

“I felt that last season the pre-season schedule was structured really well in terms of the games we had,” Neil told PNE’s official website.

“If you look at the start to the season we had, that was set up by the pre-season.

“So we wanted to ensure that the games we’ve got this time are quite similar to those ones because I’m a big believer of if it’s not broken don’t fix it.

“The games we’ve got are great and what it will give us is a good variety of tests before the season starts.

“Then hopefully we can hit the ground running like we did last year.”

Last season, PNE had friendlies against Bamber Bridge, Stockport County, Morecambe, Accrington Stanley, Newcastle United, Burnley and Fleetwood Town.

This year, they again start at Bamber Bridge – the visit to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium is on Saturday, July 7.

They face AFC Fylde a week later and then go to Ireland for a training camp, during which they will play Cobh Ramblers on July 17.

On their return they host West Ham and then Burnley at Deepdale in the space of three days.

An away clash at Oldham on July 28 brings the curtain down on the friendlies.

Neil will welcome the squad back for training on Thursday.

It be a squad big on numbers at it stands, with 34 professionals on the books.

Added to the squad from last season are new signings Ryan Ledson, Graham Burke, Michael Crowe, Jordan Storey and Andrew Hughes.

Michael Howard, who is back from a loan spell at Cork City, signed pro forms with PNE before going to Ireland.

Back for the time being will be Eoin Doyle, Andy Boyle, Ben Pringle, Marnick Vermijl and Kevin O’Connor who spent the second-half of last season out on loan.

Those five are set to leave during pre-season – four of them possibly permanently and left-back O’Connor on loan.