Preston hammered Walsall 5-0 in the Central League this afternoon, with teenager Mikey O’Neil stealing the show with a hat-trick.
North End fielded a youthful side for today’s game, rather than using fringe first-team players like usual.
That meant chances for the likes of Josh Seary, Noah Mawene, Joe Rodwell-Grant and Lewis Leigh.
It was O’Neill who grabbed the headlines though, smashing a hat-trick in the first half.
O’Neill’s goals came after 22, 34 and 36 minutes, meaning it was a remarkable 14-minute hat-trick.
Teddy Mfuni and Joe Rodwell-Grant secured the win, but all the talk will now be about O’Neill’s performance.
Primarily a midfielder by trade, O’Neill has played as a number 10 and as a striker in the Preston youth setup.
What’s really interesting with O’Neill is that he has a background in futsal, which tends to demand impressive technical ability.
Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Max Kilman has become a star in the Premier League off the back of his futsal history.
Who is to say that O’Neill can’t do the same for Preston?
Everybody will be looking to impress new North End boss Ryan Lowe, and this hat-trick is absolutely the way to do it for O’Neill.
Being born in Liverpool may also help that instant rapport with Lowe, with the 17-year-old looking to put himself onto the North End manager’s radar.
After today’s display, he has certainly done that.