PRESTON North End manager Alex Neil has backed Alan Browne to come through his difficult period at club level as the Cork native struggles to cement a place in the starting 11.
The former Ringmahon Rangers midfielder has featured in all eight league game for the Championship side so far this season but only four of those came from the start.
“Yeah he’s been in and out of the team because I don’t think at the start of the season Alan was in his best form,” said Neil.
“I don’t think he has changed confidence-wise. Players go in and out of form, that’s natural and they have a lot going on in their lives as well, they’re not robots.
“Players will be good and then they will go through rough spells where they are not so good. They will affect games and then they won’t affect games and that will happen with every single player in my squad throughout the season.
“What happens is depending on who it is will determine what is made of it. Oh he lacks confidence, we need to put an arm around him or whatever, I think that is a lot of crap really.
“The fact is the lads now what they are required to do. They’re good boys, they work really hard and I have got no concerns over Alan at all, he will come again.
“He has been a crucial player for us since we have been here it’s just unfortunate for him at the moment that the other lads are playing well.
“DJ (Daniel Johnson) won the Player of the Month and in my opinion, Alan Browne’s best position is in the number 10 position for us rather than playing deeper.
“He won’t be getting as much game time as he would like at the moment Alan but that’s due to the fact that the other lads are playing well rather than his shortcomings.”
Browne’s team-mate Sean Maguire has no such concerns as he looks almost certain to start for Preston when they host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
The former Cork City striker was the match-winner in their most recent outing against Birmingham City and Neil was quick to praise his performances.
“Seanie is going to be important as the rest of the forwards,” he added.
“It is difficult to say that Sean is the threat that we are going to have because we have other guys at the top end of the pitch.
“But Sean has performed very well for us this year, he has been very influential in matches in terms of getting his goals, getting his penalties and getting into good areas so he is performing very well and if he does start the game he will be a key player for us.”