Preston boss Ryan Lowe has indicated that a mystery young player will ‘definitely’ play first-team football before the end of the season – and we would guess it’s Mikey O’Neill.
North End’s season is clearly petering out and, without trying to sound harsh, some players look like they’ve downed tools until the summer.
Lowe still needs to pick up results, especially with some fans questioning whether he has made as big of an impact as first thought.
Yet with the season nearing its conclusion, Lowe may well want to experiment with his players ahead of next season.
Speaking at a ‘Meet the Manager’ session last week, Lowe admitted that a young player from the academy will ‘definitely’ play in the first team this season.
“There will be one youngster who you’ll see before the end of the season, definitely,” said Lowe. “He’s caught my eye and impressed me ever since I walked through the door,” he added.
Lowe didn’t name names, but the natural guess is that Lowe is talking about O’Neill.
O’Neill has been coming through the Preston ranks and has shown the ability to play as an attacking midfielder or striker.
Still only 17, O’Neill has been shining in the Under-18’s and has caught Lowe’s attention.
O’Neill was around the first team against Huddersfield Town, warming up before the game before Lowe admitted that O’Neill was very nearly a substitute.
A Scouser just like Lowe, O’Neill’s background is in futsal which should aid his technical ability at a higher level.
Described as ‘very creative’, O’Neill looks to be an exciting talent for the future and Lowe appears to be a big fan.
There are other candidates to fulfil Lowe’s comments, such as midfielder Lewis Leigh or playmaker Aaron Bennett.
Yet having already been around the first team, it looks like O’Neill is primed for the step up – and we could well see him in Championship action very soon.