Tommy Spurr has been speaking about the developments the squad has made throughout the first pre-season under manager Alex Neil.
Spurr arrived at Deepdale last summer and since then has primarily been used at left back but the defender has seen more time in the centre of defence than the left side this pre-season and he’s enjoying the change.
Speaking to PNE.Com he said: “It’s been tough but it’s been good - so have the manager’s new ideas. The training that we have done is all built towards the games and the lads are enjoying it and trying to take it on and trying to take it into the games.
“Last year I didn’t get much of a go at centre back so I’m glad that I’ve got a chance to show that I’m a lot more comfortable there than left wing or left wing back. I’m just trying to work hard and stake a claim to get a shirt.”
Academy graduate Josh Earl has featured regularly at left back this pre-season and Spurr spoke of the help the other players have been giving to the youngster as he’s establishing himself in the first team.
“You’re not blowing as much at centre half as you are at full back so you can try and talk a little bit more. We’ve all been in that position once.
“Josh has done really well from playing with the academy to stepping up and training with us and playing in the games. Everyone’s been there so they’ll give a little bit of help but he’s done it himself. He’s shown he’s capable of going forward and defending really well.”
The main focus of this year’s pre-season has been adopting Alex Neil’s style of football. The manager favours a more possession based approach - which has been evident so far in the football the squad has played – and Spurr is optimistic leading into the last three pre-season games.
“It’s a lot different to what we’ve been used to but the lads enjoy it. I think we’ve got the lads capable of playing that way, it’s more enjoyable for us to play in and more enjoyable for people to watch as well.
“That is what we’ve been working on in training. The lads have been doing well at it so far and I think the more we do it the better we’ll get at it. It only makes it easier for us that we don’t have as much defending to do if we’re winning the ball back in their half.
“He’s not had that long yet so to show that we’ve put it into practice in the first few games we’ve played is a positive. It shows that the longer it goes on the better it will get and we’ve just got to look to take that into the next few games and then be ready for Sheffield Wednesday.”
With two Premier League outfits travelling to Deepdale in the upcoming week, Spurr can’t wait to get back in front of PNE fans at home again.
“It’s not normal that you have two home games in pre-season so it’ll be nice to get back against a team that we played well against in the home game last season; and they’re a team we owe for the two away games.
“That’s the difference of the Premier League, they had two shots and scored twice so we’re going to have to work hard to nullify them and keep them quiet - and take the chances when we get them.
“It’s going to be like that through the season, where teams are going to have possession so we’ll set up ready for that but still go after them. When we get the ball we’ll look to keep doing what we’ve been doing - keep the ball and try and create a lot of chances.”
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