Preston North End enjoyed a fantastic first season under the leadership of Scottish manager Alex Neil, finishing seventh in the Sky Bet Championship and narrowly missing out on a place in the Play-Offs on the final day.

The former Norwich City boss took charge of the Lilywhites last summer, after ex-boss Simon Grayson left the club to join Sunderland.

And whilst things did not quite work out for Grayson, Neil and Preston have never felt better, and that is something that is echoed by their defender Ben Davies, who enjoyed a breakthrough season under Alex Neil.

The 22-year-old defender played 34 times in the Sky Bet Championship for the Lancashire club, having spent the previous two seasons out on loan.

Davies feels that he owes a lot to new manager Alex Neil, and says without him he does not know where he would be.

Speaking with the Lancashire Evening Post, the young player of the year winner said: “Things then changed with the new gaffer coming in. I have to say it changed for the better for me because I don’t know how much I would have played otherwise.”

“What happened was that it turned out to be a brilliant season for me, I have proved to myself that I can do it.”

And despite a brilliant breakthrough season for North End, the young central defender knows he cannot afford to be complacent.

“I won’t be standing still, I can’t afford to,” Davies said.

I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of my team-mates when I say that we are all in the same boat. This squad is improving every year, both individually and collectively.

“I feel like I’m just getting started here and there is a lot more to come from me. I’ll have a bit of a rest and then get myself ready to come back for pre-season to give it a good go.”

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