Alex Neil has praised midfielder Brad Potts as he put in a solid performance on his maiden start in 2020.
The 25-year-old was impressive despite Preston North End’s defeat to promotion chasing Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday. This will come as great news to many Preston supporters following the midfielder’s inconsistent start to life in the North-West.
David Nugent put through his own net before Aboubakar Kamara sealed the win for the Cottagers in the final moments of the tie, however, Potts’ performance was certainly a positive for Preston boss Alex Neil, who told the Lancashire Post: “I thought Pottsy did well, he looked threatening driving through the middle of the pitch.
“He had two really good chances, one of them when a defender did well to block it. When the ball went up to David Nugent, Pottsy was able to break off the back of him and was a threat from deep.
Neil explained that a game against a top side like Fulham could see Potts have more control on the proceedings, he continued: “I thought the Fulham game was ideally suited for him but obviously we didn’t get the result, so it was hard to take many positives from it.”
Potts was brought into the line up after Ben Pearson picked up a hamstring injury which could keep the midfielder out for up to a month. Pearson has played a huge part as Preston have established themselves as a play-off contender this season and his industrious work alongside Alan Browne has Preston inside the top six, two points ahead of Bristol City.
The 6’2” midfielder, Potts, arrived at Deepdale following an impressive campaign in the Sky Bet Championship with Barnsley, despite eventually getting relegated on a dramatic final day. Potts put in a string of eye-catching performances in the first half of the season in Sky Bet League One, which persuaded Neil to bring him to Lancashire for an undisclosed fee.
Injuries have plagued the midfielder’s career with Preston after suffering knee cartilage damage just after signing for the club with Potts undergoing surgery. Pre-season proved to be a step too far for Potts who was then playing catch-up for fitness as Preston began their Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Potts showcased on Saturday that he is the perfect attacking midfielder for Preston. His ability to play just off a central striker was key to Preston posing a threat and there were several occasions against Fulham where Potts forced Preston up the pitch by carrying the ball out of defence, a similar trait he made the most of whilst playing for Barnsley.
He is intelligent with his positioning when the ball is in wide areas of the pitch, he is aware of when to drop deep and control the game but also when to stride into the box and cause problems for defenders. If Potts can avoid injury between now and the end of the regular campaign, Preston could be looking at a high-quality player who could be in fine form as they attempt to reach the top division for the first time since 1961.