Final KO for PNE loanee Callum

Callum Robinson has returned to Aston Villa after his loan spell with PNE
Callum Robinson has returned to Aston Villa after his loan spell with PNE
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Preston North End have said a second goodbye to Callum Robinson after confirming he will not be available for the play-off final at Wembley.

The 20-year-old attacker is back with parent club Aston Villa and could feature in their last two Premier League games.

Villa allowed PNE to extend Robinson’s youth loan when they missed out on automatic promotion and had to settle for the play-offs.

The extension only covered the semi-finals though, with the player now back in the West Midlands.

Robinson had two spells at Deepdale this term, joining initially in September.

He was recalled by Villa in November, just three days after scoring PNE’s winner at Bristol City.

Preston got him back on transfer deadline day at the start of February.

Robinson was on the bench for both legs of the semi-final against Chesterfield.

He was an 87th-minute substitute in the away tie but did not get on at Deepdale.

Villa boss Tim Sherwood said: “I’m not loaning him for the final because we want to see him here.

“The priority is us. If we leave him there for the final we haven’t got the opportunity to see him.

“Callum could still play for us – he’s got a good chance of playing.

“He can play the last game of the season if things go well for us.

“I think it’s been a very good loan for him. Simon Grayson and Preston have been excellent for Callum.

“He’s played first and foremost but he’s also done well.”

Cynics might point to the close ties Sherwood has with Swindon – Preston’s opponents at Wembley – as a reason for the recall.

Balancing that argument, it was his predecessor Paul Lambert who was in charge when both loan deals were struck and Sherwood has not had the chance to see Robinson at close quarters.

Robinson’s departure will open a space in the Wembley squad for someone else.

North End are not short of numbers in terms of a replacement.

Ticket sales for the final started this morning, the club using booking firm See Tickets to sell their allocation by phone and online.

PNE general manager Ben Rhodes believes that method of sale is the best choice.

Rhodes said: “This is the third play-off final that I have been involved in here.

“In 2001 we did all sales from Deepdale and it was chaos – for the fans, it wasn’t a positive customer experience.

“When we got there in 2005 we had a mix of sales – through an agency and some here.

“There were a few issues with that and we made the decision then that we would use a ticket agency for any future finals.

“Companies like this are used to selling thousands of tickets on a daily basis.

“They have a 140-staff call centre in Nottingham and are geared up for big events.

“In the modern day we should not have people stood queueing in the rain for tickets for hours on end.

“The 30,035 tickets we have got is an initial allocation. Should we sell-out of those we have the opportunity to talk to the Football League about getting more.

“On the transport front, we are expecting to fill lots of coaches.

“In 2005 we took 60 coaches to Cardiff and I would expect 60 to 80 this time.”