Teenage striker Connor Simpson can push for the Preston first team says Alex Neil
Alex Neil says age would not be a barrier to Preston North End new boy Connor Simpson forcing his way into first-team contention at Deepdale.
The 17-year-old striker started training with Neil’s squad on Tuesday after last week’s £50,000 switch from Hartlepool United.
Although he is primarily one for the future, Simpson will get every chance to catch the eye in training.
Neil says it won’t be a case of the 6ft 5in front man being loaned out this month.
That is something which could be looked at the start of next season if Simpson needs game time.
“If he is good enough he can play, like we have shown with Josh Earl and in a different way Ben Davies who is older but hadn’t played a lot here,” said Neil.
“The way I work is that the guys who deserve to play will be on the pitch.
“If Connor shows that he deserves to be involved, he will be involved, it’s as simple as that.
“A loan is not something we are considering just at the moment.
“We will monitor Connor until the end of the season and if we feel then that he needs more game time, we will look to do that.”
Neil has been impressed with Simpson in his first few training sessions this week.
In particular, his agility is something the PNE manager has noted.
Said Neil: “Technically he is at a good level being such a big at such a young age.
“Connor is mobile as well,sometimes when you look at players who are 6f 5 or 6ft 6, their mobility is not that great, they are cumbersome, big and lanky.
“He is certainly not that, he has good mobility about him and seems to have some good technique.
“He is only a baby so there is plenty to work with.”
The obvious attraction with Simpson is his height and his physical development will be something North End have to monitor closely.
Neil says the player is still growing, with him not far off the 6ft 6in mark.
He said: “Connor will be on a different programme to the rest of the lads.
“The sports science guys will be keeping a really close eye on him.
“He was 6ft 5in just over a month ago and has sprouted three-quarters of an inch since then.
“Connor is a big lad and will take a bit more management in terms of his size.
“We’ve got good people in place at the club to take care of that.”
Meanwhile, tickets for Preston’s trip to Brentford next month will go on sale on Monday morning.
Seats and terrace tickets are available for the Griffin Park game on February 10.