Marnick Vermijl is happy to finally get a full pre-season under his belt at Deepdale and is enjoying life under new boss Alex Neil.
The versatile full-back has been a late addition to the PNE squad in recent years so he's missed a lot of North End's pre-season preparation previously, this year however he’s been involved from the first day.
Vermijl also credited the condition of his teammates’ at the start of pre-season, and feels their work whilst away from the club in the summer is a sign of the squad's high aims.
Speaking to PNE.Com he said: “It’s been really good, the last couple of seasons I can’t really remember having a proper pre-season with a team. I came in on deadline day in the last two years so it’s nice to be in early with the squad and do a full pre-season with them, it’s going well.
“Pre-season sets you up for the full season, you need to make sure you’re as fit as possible and I think we’re doing that at the moment. In the running test everybody performed really well and that shows the ambition that the lads have for this season so it’s all good.”
Marnick spoke of how the team reacted to the change of manager and tells of how he is looking forward to new approaches to football.
“We certainly didn’t expect it when we came in and you need to adapt yourself really quickly - you need to have that switch in your head. The new gaffer came in and he’s already told us what his plans are for this season and how he wants us to play.
“I think it will suit this team - we have a lot of young players, with experience as well, so we’ve got a good mixture in this team and hopefully we can push on this season.
“Change is not a bad thing, I worked with Simon Grayson for the last two years but now with the new gaffer coming in you see a different part of football again. He can make us better at different things, like his style and how he wants to play, so let’s see how that will work out.”
Alex Neil had just taken his first training session as North End manager when Marnick spoke to PNE.Com but the Belgian is glad that many of the backroom staff have remained at the club.
“It was very tough this morning but the lads are fit and are going well. I enjoyed it, the running part is over for us more or less, everything is ball work so I don’t mind working hard when it’s like this.
“It’s always good that there are still familiar faces and with the new guys coming in it will only benefit the team. This group has been together for a couple of years now, we all know each other and the banter is flying around, there’s always good fun with these lads.”
Now Vermijl is looking towards the new season and improving on last term, with a Play-Off campaign the target.
“If you see last season and how close we were at one stage – and the Championship isn’t an easy league – but I think with the team, the quality and the talent we have that we can have a good go.
“I just want to play as many games as I can and hopefully we’ll have a terrific season and kick on from last season.”
As a graduate of the Machester United academy, Marnkick has known a few of his teammates for longer than others. Ben Pearson and Liam Grimshaw also came through the ranks at Old Trafford, alongside new signing Josh Harrop, who Vermijl believes can be the difference for PNE going forward next season.
“I know Josh, I played with him at Man United and I know how good he is. I know what he can do and what he can’t do.
“He’s got unbelievable ability and that can only be beneficial for us; he can bring that extra spark up front for us so hopefully he can do that this season.
“It’s always nice to have familiar faces in the team and it makes it easier that you know how they play and they know how you play. For me now, I’ve been here two years and I know everyone really well.”