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First Team News

Gaffer Says North End Are ‘Ready To Go’

3 August 2023

Ryan Lowe said his Preston North End side are “all ready to go” ahead of Saturday’s season opener against Bristol City.

North End will kick off the new Sky Bet Championship campaign at Ashton Gate this weekend, with pre-season preparations now all but done.

Ryan said: “We’re all ready to go. We’ll train today and tomorrow to finish the week off.

“We’ve had a fantastic week in terms of preparing for Bristol City and it’s a game we’re really looking forward to.

“We know it’s going to be a tough place to go, it always is, but it’s one the lads are relishing.”

There will be a few players absent for the trip to Bristol, with Ben Whiteman and Robbie Brady both set to miss out, although they aren’t far off a return.

Speaking after the final pre-season friendly against Stockport County, the manager admitted some places were still very much up for grabs, and the current week of training is the final opportunity for the players to stake their claim for a starting position.

Ryan added: “I said to them on Monday this is the week now. There’s three and four where you think he’s going to play, but the places have been up for grabs and that’s what I wanted throughout pre-season.

“Some have taken it, some haven’t. Some will be tactical changes, some will be that I think he can do a better job than others but that’s fine. That’s what I’m paid to do, to pick the team, and it’s over to them to stay in it.

“Whatever team we pick it’s up to them to stay in the team and the feeling I’ve got from the lads is they’re champing at the bit now and can’t wait for Saturday afternoon to come.”

Given Brady’s absence, a position of interest for North End fans is at left wing back, which may be occupied by teenager Kian Best.

The defender, who signed his first professional contract with the club last week, has got the nod throughout pre-season and could make his senior debut at Ashton Gate.

Ryan said: “I think you only have to see Besty and the way he’s been in pre-season, [he deserved] to be rewarded with a pro contract.

“He’s a fantastic kid with a great attitude, and he’s got fitter and stronger as the games have gone on. He’s got an unbelievable left foot and his technical ability’s very good.

“When you have all those things, it’s hard to go unnoticed and he certainly hasn’t. He’s been fantastic and if he gets the nod then I’ve got ultimate faith in him that he can perform because if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. It doesn’t really matter.

“Whatever name’s on the back of the shirt doesn’t really matter, as long as you can perform. I’ve got every faith in Kian that if he does play then he can perform to the best levels.”

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