PNE boss content to wait to complete summer business

Alex Neil says Preston North End are biding their time when it comes to finishing off the summer recruitment.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 16th July 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:57 pm
Callum Robinson of Preston North End celebrates scoring with team-mate Daniel Johnson
Callum Robinson of Preston North End celebrates scoring with team-mate Daniel Johnson

A healthy-sized squad flew to Ireland yesterday for the next stage of pre-season but there is space in it for a new face or two.

The Lilywhites got plenty of business done earlier in the close season, bringing in five new signings – Graham Burke, Ryan Ledson, Jordan Storey, Andrew Hughes and Michael Crowe.

North End boss Neil is pleased to have got the chance to work with them during the pre-season.

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Equally, he is content to wait to top things off so to see who might became available in the next few weeks.

The transfer window shuts on August 9, although Football League clubs can continue to loan players until August 31.

“Our strength in depth has improved from last season,” Neil told the Post.

“There are still areas we would like to add to and get another couple of bodies in, certainly one.

“We have done a lot more work than some other teams, so we are well set up.

“However, I think there are certain positions we need to bide our time with and wait.

“What will happen over the next three weeks or so is that people will become available who initially weren’t at the start of the window.

“Squads will be starting to settle down now that teams are back for pre-season.

“Players find where they are in the pecking order and will either like that or they won’t – that might present an opportunity for us.

“What we don’t want to do is fill all of the traps too early.

“There might be a player who comes along who at the moment we can’t get.

“We have to be smart and work smart.”

Neil was pleased with what his squad produced in the 6-1 win at AFC Fylde on Saturday.

Paul Huntington, Callum Robinson (2), Sean Maguire (2) and Hughes were on target in the Mill Farm clash.

North End used 22 players, Neil changing the team after an hour with the score 3-0.

“For the first hour I played Ben Pearson as a No.6 with two No.10s in Josh Harrop and Graham Burke behind Louis Moult,” said Neil.

“That team was much more aggressive in terms of their creativity.

“The side which we put on for the last half hour was more structured in terms of having a solid three in the middle with Alan Browne as the No.10.

“I think the second team naturally controlled the ball more while the first team was arguably more penetrative due to all the attacking lads.”

Tom Clarke and Josh Earl sat out the AFC Fylde game, Clarke because of a tight groin and Earl with a thigh injury, neither problem serious.