Adam was out of PNE’s Reach

Adam Reach

Adam Reach

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Preston North End will go toe-to-toe with former loan player Adam Reach in Saturday’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday.

The 23-year-old spent the majority of last season with PNE, making 36 appearances and scoring four goals.

Reach was on the radar for a possible return to Deepdale in the summer.

But on deadline day at the end of August, Wednesday paid Middlesbrough £5m for him – a fee which will rise to £7m next year.

Speaking at the time, North End manager Simon Grayson said: “I would have loved to have signed Adam.

“But when he’s going for £5m it shows it’s not a level playing field when it comes to finances.

“If it had been a million, we could have had a go but it would have still been a very rich deal for us.”

Reach has played 13 times in the Wednesday No.9 shirt, the last two games seeing him operate at left-back.

Last season with Preston he showed his versatility, playing on the left-wing, at wing-back as in a role behind the striker.

It was that flexibility which PNE were keen to bring back before Wednesday got him.

A strong spell of form came either side of Christmas, with him operating first on the left side of a three-man attack and then in the hole behind Joe Garner.

Reach had joined North End in September last year on an emergency loan.

The loan was extended in the January transfer window until the end of the season.

Reach was part of a big summer of recruitment done by Wednesday after being beaten 1-0 by Hull City in the play-off final in May.

Twelve incoming deals were done, others to join included Steven Fletcher, Will Buckley and another one-time Preston loanee David Jones.

After Reach’s arrival, Owls manager Carlos Carvalhal said: “He’s a massive player to us, he’s 23, English and is a player who had the quality to play in the Premier League.

“He has a good left foot and is very elegant on the ball.

“The ball is not strange to him, it is like the ball belongs to the body when he touches it.

“He has pace and is a very good player.”

Reach and his Wednesday team-mates will face North End fresh from a 2-0 victory over Wolves at Molineux.

First-half goal goals from Fernando Forestieri and Kieran Lee delivered the win.

This weekend’s game is one of three matches the Owls will play at Hillsborough before Christmas.

One of their festive fixtures is the return clash with the Lilywhites at Deepdale on New Year’s Eve.

Carvalhal said: “Everybody knows that we are very strong at Hillsborough.

“We win more points at home even though we want to win away.

“We are not the best or worst team of the Championship.

“We have a very competitive team and, from the first to the last second, we will try to fight for the three points.

“There are six games in this competition in December so that is 18 points.

“If you have a good December, you can jump positions.

“If you have a bad month, all teams can drop down.

“I want my team to win all the points that are possible.”