Ryan Lowe felt his young players were “fantastic” in the 7-0 victory over Bamber Bridge in the opening fixture of pre-season.
North End fielded a mixture of youth and experience at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, and teenagers scored six of PNE’s goals on the day.
Jacob Slater and Kitt Nelson both netted braces, while Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile and Mikey O’Neill also found the back of the net in a rampant second half.
Ryan told iFollow PNE: “The result’s irrelevant really isn’t it because it’s pre-season and I’ve always said that, but it was nice to get some goals of course, and more importantly it was to get the lads off the pitch unscathed.
“The lads did what they had to do and to score seven goals is always a bonus. I thought the youngsters were fantastic, I expect what the pros do but the young lads have stepped up and they’re there to be counted for now.
“I’ve said to them before if you continue that, they’re the standards, then you’ll get opportunities.
“So [it was] a good run out, nice to see all the fans back as well, and to get a bit of football in.”
While there were many impressive performances in North End shirts on the day, arguably the best of them came from Slater.
The 18-year-old netted two himself – the second being a cushioned first-time finish into the bottom corner – and he was also involved in a number of the other goals, too.
Ryan said: “He has a good chance to be top, top player, Jacob. We’ve been building him and he’s put four kilos on over the summer which is a big bonus because he was very slight.
“He was a left-sided centre half in the first half, then left wing back in the second half and he finds himself with two goals which is massively important for him to get them goals and to get in the right areas.
“I thought Kitt Nelson was fantastic; all the kids were, I don’t want to single one out.
“But for Kitt to get two goals, and Felipe to come on and dinking the ‘keeper, and Mikey to score [was pleasing].
“It’s always nice when the kids score goals and long may that continue.”
Many of North End’s teenagers will be going to Spain with the squad on Sunday as they jet off to Campoamor for a six-day training camp.
Ben Whiteman and Emil Riis won’t be joining them there, though, with the former set for specialist treatment which should only leave him out for a short period, while the Danish striker is tasked with strengthening his leg following his ACL injury.
The manager also discussed movement on the transfer front, with over a month remaining until the start of the season.
“We’re down the line with two at the moment and a couple of offers out, but we’ve got to be patient.
“I think there’s a lot of football clubs up and down the country that are in the same position.
“We’ve got our targets who first and foremost we want to come to Preston North End and produce and give us what we want.
“We don’t just want to sign any players, we want to make sure they’re the right ones.”