Preston were in action last night, taking on Chorley in the Lancashire Senior Cup on Tuesday night.
Despite being between key league games against Brentford and Birmingham City, Alex Neil named a strong side at Victory Park. Ryan Ledson and Josh Harrop both started after featuring against Brentford, whilst there were opportunities for Jordan Storey, Tom Bayliss and Andre Green.
Josh Ginnelly bagged a first half hat-trick, and Harrop added a fourth in the second half in a 4-1 win.
North End, as expected, advanced past their non-league opponents, and here are five key talking points from last night’s game…
Josh Ginnelly takes his chance
Winger Ginnelly hasn’t played a single minute of Championship football this season. His one start this term was in the Carabao Cup against Hull City, and even that was at left back. On Tuesday, the 22-year-old was given a chance to shine out wide, and he seized that opportunity. Ginnelly hit a first-half hat-trick and, quite honestly, should have had four having missed a golden chance from close range. He has a tough task breaking into the team, but he gave Alex Neil something to think about last night.
Hughes and Nugent get key minutes
Andrew Hughes has been out for more than a month with a hamstring issue, whilst David Nugent picked up an injury in a behind-closed-doors game last week. Hughes started last night’s game at left back, playing 60 minutes before being replaced by Lewis Coulton. Nugent came on at half time, and did have the ball in the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside against Ginnelly. Starts any time soon like unlikely, but they got key minutes in their legs.
Adam O’Reilly features in an unfamiliar position
The parallels between Adam O’Reilly and Alan Browne are clear; both midfielders, both born in Cork, both came through at Ringmahon Rangers, both ended up at Preston. Now, you can add another similarity – they’ve both been pressed into playing at right back. Teenager O’Reilly started on the right side of defence last night, with Darnell Fisher and Joe Rafferty needed for the first team. O’Reilly did okay in his unfamiliar role, but did almost give away a goal in the first half with an underhit backpass, which Jordan Storey saving the day. His long-term future is unlikely to be at right back, but he filled in when needed last night, just as Browne has recently.
Harrop impresses again, but Stockley looks low on confidence
Josh Harrop has made a promising start to the season, and he was at it again last night. He battled well and picked out a superb pass for Ginnelly’s opener, then broke down the left before teeing up Ginnelly’s second. He curled home the fourth with a fine finish, and had a fifth ruled out for offside from a Nugent shot. A goal and two assists could have been even more, and he should have had a second assist having set up a golden chance for Jayden Stockley. Harrop picked out the striker just yards out from goal, but he headed against the post as his difficult start to the season continues. His expression after the chance was one of a player short of confidence, so hopefully he can get back to his best sooner rather than later.
John Welsh plays – against Preston
Chorley had three trialists in action, and one of those was John Welsh. The former Preston captain is a free agent having left Grimsby Town in March of this year, with off-field issues arising too. The 35-year-old is looking to get back into the game, and is on trial with Chorley in an attempt to win a deal with the National League side. Remarkably, he almost scored inside the first 10 seconds with a looping half volley which almost beat Connor Ripley.