However, at the end of the season he wasn't offered a deal and looked set to join Oldham. An injury prevented that from happening that summer but eventually he did make it to Boundary Park and he's progressed to the extent that this season he's become a regular in the first team.
Last season manager John Sheridan sent him out to Halifax on long term loan but an injury to Sean Gregan gave him his chance in the first team and he's grabbed it with both hands, and one of his early appearances this season came as a late sub in the Carling Cup tie against us on the Turf.
A number of clubs have been watching him. Hull were linked with a move and Plymouth made an offer for him. But it was Preston who stepped in with an offer of £500,000 plus further payments that secured his move to Deepdale.
He's one of four members of that Alliance Cup Final team who is playing regular league football. Marc Pugh is at Shrewsbury whilst Chris McCann, who played centre half that night, and Kyle Lafferty are in the Burnley side.
When Neal left Burnley I wrote that he, and those of his team mates who were leaving, would go with our best wishes and thanks for what had been a good season at youth level. He still has my best wishes and I hope he goes on to do well for Preston, except when he plays against us of course.