Preston North End boss Alex Neil on similarities between Callum Robinson and new signing Josh Ginnelly
Preston boss Alex Neil hopes he's got another Callum Robinson after making Walsall winger Josh Ginnelly his first signing of the January transfer window.
The 21-year-old has been brought in to partly cover for the absence of PNE’s 10-goal top scorer who is expected to be ruled out with a hamstring injury until March.
Like Robinson, Ginnelly came through the ranks at Aston Villa and as Neil points out, the comparisons don’t end there with the new boy able to play on either flank.
“When we watched him he stood out as a wide player who is very similar to Callum Robinson,” said the PNE boss.
“Even if you look at him he’s got the tints in his hair and things like that!
“He’s one that we’re going to develop.
“He’s played at good levels and then had to drop down to find his way which shows a bit of resilience.
“He’s got really good technical quality and is quick.
“He’s probably Callum Robinson a couple of years ago, that’s where I see him at the moment.
“My job is to do what we did with Callum which is nurture him, bring him through and teach him how we try and play.”
Neil wants to make sure that like Robinson, Ginnelly’s end product improves in the coming months.
“With wide players, the way I try and make them better is taking them from looking like a nice player to be being an effective player,” he said
“I think we’ve done that with Callum.
“He used to roll his foot over the ball, beat a couple of players and then kick it out of the park where as now he rolls his foot over the ball, beats a couple of players and sticks it in the far corner.
“Callum is productive now with assists and goals. He’ll get double figures in terms of goals per season regularly.
“If we can get Josh to that point then we’ll have a real asset on our hands.”
Having twice won promotion from the National League while on loan at Lincoln and Tranmere, the former Burnley man has only been with Walsall since the summer.
But Neil has seen enough to believe he can make the step up to the Championship.
“As soon as we saw him we thought he was playing at a level he’s probably too good for which is the reason why we got him in,” said Neil.
“I think we got a good deal done in terms of expenditure and he’ll come in and certainly improve us.
“As always he’ll be a project in terms of taking him forward.”