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First Team News

Alex Neil Updates On Squad In Lockdown

17 April 2020

Preston North End manager Alex Neil has given an update on how the squad and staff are dealing with the current health crisis.

Speaking to the official website he admitted that members of the squad had potentially had an overcome COVID-19 and that he and the staff were in regular contact with all the players.
“The players have taken everything in their stride,” he told PNE.Com. “Boredom has been the biggest issue, because they are used to being in training and having a busy schedule and in the enforced break – albeit if they have been in fine health, because some of the lads have had ‘a’ virus, if not ‘the’ virus, which we are not quite sure because of the testing – but most of them have been fine.
“They have seen it as a time to rest and recover, physically and mentally and then start their training.
“Depending how many games they have played this year, the majority who have played most of the games have probably seen it as a bit of a rest and the other lads have upped their work to get into good shape for coming back.
“You have to treat every player as an individual case, because every one of them is different and we have been in touch with them regularly, both me and the rest of the staff, to touch base and make sure they have what they need catered for.”
Dealing with their mental health as much as their physical well-being has been the staff’s priority and Alex confirmed that they all seemed to be dealing with a difficult situation in good spirits.
“Most of the ones with families are fine, because their kids will occupy them, but most of the younger lads have got a girlfriend, or we encouraged them before the lockdown to go back and be with their parents or some sort of family member,” he continued.
“I don’t think we have any who are solely on their own, which is a good thing, because that would be difficult.”
In recent weeks a draft schedule has been issued, with players away from Springfields until 16th May, with a potential scheduled start around the 6th June and this possible clarity has been of major assistance to the Lilywhites boss.
“The biggest difficulty the players and I had to begin with was being in limbo, not knowing when we would be coming back or when the restart date was going to be.
“Now there has been a date set for us potentially to come back, that allows us to put a plan in place and allows the players to focus on that date and get ready to come back by that date.
“If you don’t have that date, it is really difficult, because you normally work towards a Saturday and being ready for that and in the off season you work towards the first day of pre-season and being ready for that.
“I think that with that date being set, mentally as much as anything, it was really big for everybody.
“It was important, especially for me, because we have to put a plan in place where we try to maintain fitness, but everybody is at different levels and have played different game times and it becomes tough, but now we have a five week period where we can implement a plan and get everybody ready for when we come back,” he added.

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