Davies’ claims denied by PNE

Kevin Davies after scoring against Coventry City last season
Kevin Davies after scoring against Coventry City last season
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Preston North End have refuted suggestions that they have reneged on a promise to striker Kevin Davies.

The veteran forward hit out at North End this week after the club decided not to renew his contract.

The 38-year-old spent the past two years at Deepdale after signing from Bolton Wanderers in July 2013.

He made 90 appearances in that time, scoring six goals, and came on as a second-half substitute at Wembley as North End won promotion back to the Championship thanks to a 4-0 victory over Swindon Town in the League One play-off final.

His contract ran out at the end of last month and he was hopeful of remaining at PNE next season after holding informal discussions with manager Simon Grayson and other club officials at the end of the season.

North End explored the possibility of retaining Davies either solely as a player or in a player-coach capacity, but in the end were unable to offer him fresh terms.

The club communicated this decision to Davies on Wednesday, citing budgetary restraints in a statement issued.

The former England international expressed his disappointment in an interview but North End dismissed suggestions that a new deal or the promise of a new deal was ever offered.

The club described their negotiations with Davies as “a genuine attempt to see if anything could be worked out by both parties”.

A PNE spokesman said: “Kevin was seen by the manager at the end of the season when we were drawing up the retained list.

“The manager asked Kevin what he wanted to do and what he was thinking, expecting that Kevin was going to tell him that he wanted to retire.

“Kevin said he was interested in a player or player-coaching role.

“The manager told him that he didn’t know whether we had anything for him, but he would look into it.”

Over the ensuing weeks, the club was in regular contact with Davies to inform him that there was no deal on the table for him currently, but they were still looking into the matter of whether a new role could be found.

In the meantime, he was informed he was free to pursue other opportunities if he so wished.

Davies said this week: “I’ve been having conversations with the club over the last five weeks since the end of last season when we got promoted.

“They were all very positive in terms of a new deal coming. I spoke to the manager last week when he was on holiday and he reassured me that the deal was a few days away.

“The main issue I have with Preston is that everyone assumed that I would be under contract because the club retained me five weeks ago.

“That’s the biggest thing that’s disappointed me.”