Mikey O’Neill felt he could and perhaps should have had a hat-trick against Bamber Bridge as PNE opened their pre-season schedule with a 3-0 victory.
O’Neill was initially named as part of the second half XI to take on Jamie Milligan’s side, but an injury to Sean Maguire inside ten minutes meant he played almost the whole game.
The forward struck the bar from close range in the first half, before scoring North End’s third of the afternoon on 68 minutes, and he came close to another later on as he hit the post one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Speaking to iFollow PNE, Mikey said: “It’s the first game we’ve all played in two months so I did feel a little bit rusty, but thankfully in the second half I kind of got into my flow and obviously got my goal, and should have got more as well.
“It was a good goal to be fair. It was probably the hardest chance out of the three.
“I hit the woodwork twice which was very annoying and I should be scoring them, I know that, so hopefully next time they come up I can take them.”
Having only returned to training five days prior to the opening friendly, it has been a week of grind at Euxton.
For Mikey, and some other fellow youngsters, it’s his first taste of a pre-season with the first team – a slightly different experience to being with the U19s.
“It is a lot different,” Mikey admitted. “I feel like the gaffer is also different to other mangers the way he does it.
“I feel like he’s a lot more intense so it’s a very big step up from the U19s one I did last season, but it will serve us all well.
“The first week has been tough. Obviously we’ve been in every day and they have been tough days, I can tell you that.
“But I do feel better for it, so I’ll get a good rest tomorrow (Sunday) and hopefully next week I’ll be going in fresh.”
There’ll be plenty more chances for the 18-year-old to impress over the course of the next few weeks, before Championship action kicks off at the end of the month.
Having made three appearances in the league towards the back end of the last campaign, Mikey is understandably keen to be involved again when the new season gets underway.
He said: “With every game, I’ve just got to try and impress as much as I can.
“[I have to] impress the gaffer and hopefully he’ll see that and I’ll do that, and I’ll be able to get my chance, but it’s all up to me really.”