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First Team News

Alex Neil’s Recruits Require Right Attitude

26 June 2018

Manager Alex Neil has been talking about the recruitment process that PNE have used this summer.

The Lilywhites have been active early on in the window, bringing in five players already, which is exactly the way that the gaffer likes to do his business.

Peter Ridsdale, owner Mr Hemmings’ representative, has worked alongside the PNE boss to help him acquire the players he has wanted this summer before pre-season training began.

Speaking to PNE.Com, Alex said: “Peter has done a lot of work behind the scenes to get deals done. We both stressed the importance to each other about how much we wanted the players in before we got started.

“Even with signings in January, as I spoke about throughout the season, it’s difficult for players to come in midway through. They’re coming into a different environment, a different method of training and they’re coming into completely different things; they’re still finding their feet off the pitch.

“What we want to try and do is get all our players ready, settled and looking forward to the season ahead. The quicker we can get them in and gelled with each other, that’s only going to be helpful for us.”

PNE have used their knowledge of the transfer market in Ireland again this summer as Alex Neil has continued develop what was already an impressive structure here at Deepdale.

“The Irish market is one that has been kind to the club over the last few years, we’ve got eyes and ears over there.

“Graham [Burke] was highlighted to us, we watched him quite a lot and then we do need to add a bit more creativity into the team. It’s something we spoke about at the end of the season and Graham will certainly give us that.

“Like I said when I came in, I’m not trying to come in and rip things up; what I’m looking to do is add to it and build it.”

Part of that development has been securing current members of his squad on new or extended contracts, something he feels is just as important as the new signings.

“We’ve done a lot of good business early and retaining those guys was a key part of our business this year,” he continued.

“We don’t want to lose our best players, we want our best players to stay. Unfortunately, at times, with contract situations you get put into a situation where you need to sell.

“That’s not something that we want to do, we try to be proactive so we can prevent that situation from happening. We’ve got a strong squad. The lads have signed on they obviously enjoyed last season and we’re trying to do better this year.”

A big factor in the successes in PR1 of late are down to the close knit squad, an effect that the gaffer is aware of and wants to build on - especially when it comes to new arrivals.

“The one thing, and our biggest strength I would say, is our changing room – how together they are, how good lads they are.

“To be honest, all our recruitment is based solely on one thing, they’ve got to, first and foremost, have a good attitude; and they’ve got to be good solid lads that want to come here, develop and learn.

“If they haven’t got that then we won’t entertain them coming over. That’s the one thing we want.

“Having Tom Clarke, Hunts [Paul Huntington] and Gally [Paul Gallagher] and the senior lads, they set the presence for everyone else. If anybody steps out of line, it’s their changing room and they make sure nobody does that.

“To be fair, with the lads that we’ve recruited and the lads that we’ve got in our squad, they’re a great bunch of players so there will be no problems in that respect,” he added.


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