PNE coaching stint was big boost for John Welsh
John Welsh's final few months at Deepdale might have been quiet in terms of game-time but the departing Preston midfielder kept himself busy on the coaching front.
The 34-year-old wants to eventually go into coaching and got some experience of that with PNE’s academy at Cottam.
Welsh is looking for a new club this summer on the playing front after spending six seasons with North End.
If playing commitments allow, there is an invitation for him to continue coaching at the academy.
He says North End boss Alex Neil was a driving force behind him getting experience on the coaching front.
Welsh said: “My goal after finishing playing is to go into coaching and management.
“The gaffer has helped me on that side of things.
“He recommended I go in and help coach the Under-15s and 16s at the academy.
“It is a great set-up, the work which goes on there is brilliant and we’ve seen that by the lads coming through.
“I’d always had ambitions in coaching and I suppose you could say the gaffer gave me a kick up the backside to go and get it done.
“He was really forceful in getting the ball rolling in me going to the academy.
“It has been brilliant for me, a great experience and one I will have a conversation about continuing.
“Obviously I won’t be here next season as a player but if I can continue to work with the academy staff and do bits and pieces down there, that would be ideal.
“Where I end up playing will dictate that.
“Speaking to Peter Ridsdale and the gaffer, they have sort of said that as long as I want to do it, the position will always be there.
“I will do everything in my power to try and coach here, I really enjoyed doing it.
“I need to improve on it and it will stand me in good stead for the future.”
Welsh played 11 times for North End in the season just finished, six of those starts.
But his involvement ran a lot deeper, Neil making sure he remained a key figure in the dressing room.
“The gaffer was brilliant with me,” said Welsh.
“He spoke a lot with me as one of the more experienced players, as he does with Paul Gallagher, Paul Huntington, Greg Cunningham and Tom Clarke.
“I enjoyed the training, helping out the younger and less experienced lads, trying to help them.”