‘I need games’ says departing PNE youngster

Winger Will Hayhurst has joined 'Notts County from Preston North End
Winger Will Hayhurst has joined 'Notts County from Preston North End
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Will Hayhurst’s desire for regular first-team football was behind the decision to end his long service at Preston North End and join Notts County.

The young winger has signed an 18-month contract with the Magpies and moves from Deepdale for an undisclosed fee.

It is understood that the initial fee is a small one but North End have put a sizeable sell-on clause in the deal.

Hayhurst could face PNE as early as February 14 when they are scheduled to make the trip to Meadow Lane – FA Cup commitments pending.

Discussing his switch to County, Hayhurst said: “I have been at Preston for a long time and it was hard to leave, with it being my home-town club.

“However, I feel this is a stage of my career – at the age of 20 – when I need to be playing regularly.

“Going to Notts County is a great opportunity and I feel it will be a good move.

“I wanted to go out on loan to get some games but then I heard about the permanent move, which I was excited about.

“My agent told me that Notts County were interested and straight away I thought I would go there.”

Hayhurst travelled to Nottingham on Monday to hold talks and an agreement was reached between the clubs in time for him to train with his new team-mates yesterday.

Hayhurst, who hails from Longridge, joined North End as a schoolboy and worked his way through the club’s junior ranks.

While a trainee, he broke his legs but battled back to earn a professional contract.

His first-team debut came in the penultimate game of the 2011/12 campaign against Charlton at Deepdale.

That was the day Graham Alexander scored in his final game – Hayhurst had been Grezza’s boot boy that season.

The following season, he made 25 appearances and scored in Simon Grayson’s first three games in charge of the Lilywhites.

With first-team chances getting harder to come by, he spent the second half of last season on loan at York.

This term, Hayhurst made 11 appearances for North End, four of them starts.

His last game was as a late substitute against Barnsley on Boxing Day.

There could yet be further departures in January, with PNE looking for takers for Lee Holmes and Keith Keane who have returned from loan spells at Portsmouth and Crawley.

Supporters’ eyes are on the incoming market as they look to see who will follow Sam Johnstone into Deepdale.

The Preston-born goalkeeper joined on loan from Manchester United on Monday for the rest of the season. It is with a view to a permanent deal, although no fee has yet been agreed with United.

When Johnstone, 21, was recalled by United from Doncaster in order to join PNE, Donny boss Paul Dickov did mention a ‘seven-figure fee’ possibly being involved.