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First Team News

Manager Wants Players To Take Their Chance

16 November 2017

With a number of players still missing through injury, manager Alex Neil wants those players who come into the side to take their chance and show what they are capable of.

North End will still be without key players when Bolton Wanderers visit on Friday night, but the gaffer insists now is the time for the players who have been out of the team to shine.

The manager won't be dwelling on the injury list though, and is focused on the players that are available for Friday's game.

"The lads that are fit and available are the lads that we need to get prepared and ready for the game. The one thing I will say is I think we veered away from the way we were playing earlier on in the season, the reason being obviously that the personnel changed.

"Some of the lads that were starting the first part of the season were well adapted and quickly picked up the things I wanted, some of the lads who hadn't been playing obviously hadn't adapted as well.

"We tried to help them to a certain extent by varying the way we play a little bit, but I think that's probably caused us to not play as well as we have done so that's something we have refocused on.

"I've had to make sure that I've looked at all the bits that I've contributed to that and we need to make sure we get back to what we do well and do that as quickly as we can.”

On the players coming into the team, the PNE boss continued: "They haven't played a lot of football so it's going to be difficult for them to come in and just hit the ground running but hopefully they can do that.

"We've got something like seven defenders injured which is an incredible number, and now we've also got two out of our front three missing for this game so it's not great, but it gives other people an opportunity.

"I'm quite excited about some of the other lads coming in and seeing what they can do. I'm sure they'll be thinking they should be playing and they should be given a chance which players do think when they're not involved.

"This is an opportunity for them, they should be looking forward to it, as I said they have trained well this week and I'm looking forward to them showing me that they should have been involved."

During the international break, the manager has also had time to work with his squad on returning to the style of play that brought success in the first few months of the season, and wants the hard work on the training ground to show at Deepdale on Friday night.

"I think I just need to refocus the lads in terms of, 'this is what our outcomes are and this is what we are trying to do'. It's not easy trying to change a mentality and a style of play, and to be fair we did it really quickly but we did it with 11 or 12 players who were well adapted to changing that quickly.

"Hence, the reason the team that started the season wasn't the team that played the eighth and ninth game because some of those lads maybe weren't doing things as quickly and as well as I would want. Whereas the lads who had been playing had been doing it really well and I don't think it's any coincidence that our dip in form has coincided with losing a lot of our top players but that happens.

"What we've now done is we've given the other boys more time now to try and gel and work together and we've done a lot of work on the training pitch and the lads have trained really well this week.

"But we are all aware that you don't win anything in training, we need to take this into the game on Friday night and try and implement all of the bits we've spoken about."

Watch the full interview with the gaffer on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above. 


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