Preston North End Squad Verdict

By @ConnorJWhitley,
Now the playoffs are out of reach, North End’s season has the familiar feeling of mid-table nothingness. But who from the current squad will stay and who will leave as Preston look towards another playoff push next season.

(Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Goalkeepers

Declan Rudd (contracted until 2020). Has been #1 since January due to Maxwell’s loan exit and Ripley’s injury. He still has an error in him and will face tough competition to remain first-choice. Verdict stay.

Connor Ripley (contracted until 2022). Signed in January as competition for Rudd but an ankle injury halted his progress. Verdict stay.

Chris Maxwell (contracted until 2020). Loaned to Charlton in January after rumours of unsettling the dressing room. Chances now look extremely limited. Verdict leave.

Michael Crowe (contracted until 2020). A horror show on his debut, meant he was to go on loan to the League of Ireland in January but remained as cover after Ripley’s injury. Verdict stay, but loaned.

Matthew Hudson (contracted until 2020). Career has stalled after failing to make a league appearance while on loan at Bury this season. Verdict stay, but loaned.

Defenders

Darnell Fisher (contracted until 2021). Looked like he might have suffered from second-season syndrome but his performances have improved since. Verdict stay.

Joe Rafferty (contracted until 2022). Signed in January and has been bedded into the squad before regular playing time. Will provide good cover across the backline. Verdict stay.

Andrew Hughes (contracted until 2021). Brilliantly stepped into Greg Cunningham’s boots but a hamstring injury in March cut his season short. Verdict stay.

Josh Earl (contracted until 2021). Has failed to take his chance after Hughes’ injury. Originally a winger, the 20-year-old only began playing full-back at the beginning of last season, undoubtedly a good footballer, it may be worth playing him in his original position. Verdict stay.

Tom Clarke (contracted until 2020). Hasn’t made the squad since the 23rd February with his absence left unexplained. The 31-year-old is popular amongst the fans but his time may be up. Verdict leave.

Ben Davies (contracted until 2021). After a breakout season last campaign, Davies has gone from strength-to-strength and is now a real leader. Verdict stay.

Jordan Storey (contracted until 2022). Only broke into the Exeter side in February 2018 and there have been mistakes in his debut Championship campaign. But he’s formed an impressive partnership with Davies. Verdict stay.

Paul Huntington (contracted until 2021). Found opportunities difficult since Storey and Davies have established themselves. His experience and passion remains of value. Verdict stay.

(Anthony Devlin – PA Images / Contributor)

Midfielders

Ben Pearson (contracted until 2021). PNE look decidedly more open without him but he needs to improve his disciplinary record if he, or PNE, are to progress to the next level. Verdict stay.

Alan Browne (contracted until 2021). Keeps on improving and with 11 goals this season he is invaluable. Verdict stay.

Daniel Johnson (contracted until 2021). Has never looked like the goal machine he was in League One but offers enough to be a decent squad player. Verdict stay.

Paul Gallagher (contracted until 2020). The 34-year-old has found his position in the quarterback role where he relies on his excellent vision and passing. Verdict stay.

Ryan Ledson (contracted until 2021). Signed as Pearson’s understudy, also needs to improve his disciplinary record. Verdict stay.

Brad Potts (contracted until 2022). Not looked out of place since his January arrival. Can only improve. Verdict stay.

Josh Harrop (contracted until 2021). Season ended in September after suffering an ACL, his potential is yet to be fulfilled. Verdict stay.

Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images

Forwards

Josh Ginnelly (contracted until 2021). Has only played 32 minutes of Championship football, leaving much to prove. Verdict stay.

Brandon Barker (loan expires at end of season). Shown potential to be a game changer at Championship level but has had a stop-start season due to injuries. Verdict only re-sign if injuries can be sorted.

Tom Barkhuizen (contracted until 2020). Never seems extraordinary but has played 84 times for PNE in the past two seasons and always does a job. Verdict stay.

Billy Bodin (contracted until 2020). Showed flashes last season before his injury in pre-season, and will have something to prove on his return. Verdict stay.

Callum Robinson (contracted until 2020). 13 goals in 24 apps and would’ve helped massively in North End’s promotion push if he stayed fit. However, with little movement on a new deal North End may cash in before he can leave for free. Verdict sell, unless he signs a new deal.

Lukas Nmecha (loan expires at end of season). Found his feet at right-wing, needs to add goals to his game to become a real asset. Verdict loan again, if Man City allow.

Sean Maguire (contracted until 2021). Without a proper pre-season he’s been lacklustre with a goal return of 3. Verdict stay.

Jayden Stockley (contracted until 2022). A proven goal-scorer at League 2 level, the 25-year-old has already scored important goals for PNE and will take time to adapt to the Championship. Verdict stay.

Louis Moult (contracted until 2021). Doesn’t dominate games at this level enough and is very similar to Stockley. Could find himself down the pecking order and look to leave. Verdict leave.

Barring the obvious ones who are currently out on loan (Pringle, Boyle, Vermijl), the core of the North End squad should remain the same for the 2019/20 season. Consistency has been key in recent seasons for PNE and this group only needs a few proven additions to have a real play-off chance. Whether billionaire Mr. Hemming’s cheque book can stretch to this remains to be seen.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 08: Preston North End’s Louis Moult celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Preston North End at City Ground on December 8, 2018 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Mick Walker – CameraSport via Getty Images)
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