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First Team News

Squad Fitness Pleases Alex Neil

12 July 2018

The gaffer was pleased to see his squad return ready to hit the ground running and feels the work they are putting in will stand them in good stead for the new campaign.

Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of Saturday's trip to AFC Fylde, the manager said: "They have come back in great nick so it's not a case of running them to get their pace levels up.

"It's just a case of topping their fitness levels up and making sure their bodies can withstand the load that we are going to put them through continually throughout the season.

"They are in good shape and we are in a better place now than we were at the start of last year. At the start of last year, I had Greg Cunningham just recovering from a leg break, Paul Gallagher had pulled a calf, so we haven't got any niggly injuries at the moment which is great and long may that continue.

"We have had to be conscious of the fact they have been working in baking heat, or certainly have been over the last couple of weeks, but if anything that probably helps.

"I think it pushes their bodies even further and you hear about a lot of clubs taking teams away for warm weather camps to try and test that side of things as well so I think it's been good.

With the trip to Mill Farm the second of North End's pre-season friendlies, Alex is happy with the step up in quality his side will face as the summer progresses.

"We want to step it up in quality until we get to the start of the season and then hopefully we are prepared.

"I thought last season's structure in terms of the games worked really well for us to hit the ground running and we've done a similar type of thing this time around.

The PNE squad was further boosted in midweek with two more first team players committing their future to the club, with Paul Huntington and Alan Browne both penning new three-year deals.

"Something we have spoken about before is our longer term plan and making sure that we've got a settled squad with everyone focused on the job at hand." Said the gaffer of the latest contract renewals.

"So to get Paul and Alan done is really pleasing for them and for us and it just shows we are trying to make progress all the time.

"These signings are probably as important or even more important than bringing players in because they are the lads that have served us so well last year, I still think there is more scope in them in terms of improvement.

"What we have done is top that quality level up as well with the signings that we have brought in and we will try and do a bit more business before the window ends.

"I'm delighted that the lads feel that their career should remain here and that we are showing signs of progressing and wanting to move them forward."

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


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