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Two seven-figure Preston players who could actually benefit from Alex Neil's departure

Preston truly begin the post-Alex Neil era on Friday afternoon, as they host – somewhat ironically – Neil’s former club Norwich City.

North End parted ways with Neil almost two weeks ago, and have yet to find his long-term successor, with a summer appointment looking more likely.

Frankie McAvoy will be in charge as interim head coach, and will be looking to solve some of the issues that became clear towards the end of Neil’s reign.

A couple of players were really struggling for first-team football under Neil, and maybe they can actually benefit from the Scot’s departure…

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Tom Bayliss

Truly one of the most bizarre situations at North End right now. Bayliss was a seven-figure signing from Coventry City in August 2019, and had earned a reputation as one of the top young midfielders in the EFL. He was a progressive passer and a player able to carry the ball through midfield, yet in more than 18 months at Preston, we have only seen him start one league game.

The 21-year-old seemingly couldn’t convince Neil, and must now hope for a fresh start at Deepdale as North End prepare for a new direction.

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Emil Riis

Riis was another seven-figure addition, this time arriving from Randers in October. He made an instant impact with his pace and work rate, particularly impressing in a dominant performance against Huddersfield Town just weeks after his arrival.

Riis has only started once since the end of the January transfer window, falling down the pecking order under Neil. His goal return isn’t great – two league goals in 31 league outings – but a new manager may be able to see the huge potential in Riis and look to build around him for the future.

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