PNE defender in ‘Exile’

PNE defender Ben Davies is on loan at Newport
PNE defender Ben Davies is on loan at Newport
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Preston North End defender Ben Davies is relishing the chance of gaining further first-team experience after being ‘Exiled’ to Newport County for the remainder of the season.

Davies joined the Exiles on loan in January after finding himself on the fringes of the PNE squad.

Earlier this month, North End attempted to recall him to Deepdale as defensive cover following an injury to Paul Huntington.

The plan was to have him on the bench for the Gentry Day game at Bolton and Davies travelled with the squad to the Macron Stadium.

However, it needed FIFA clearance for the Lilywhites to register him, as the loan is an international transfer.

With the attempted recall falling outside of the transfer windows – the emergency loan system is not recognised by the world’s governing body – his return was blocked.

That has not done too much harm, with Davies now back in the Newport squad and North End having got through the last two games without his cover in defence.

Davies said: “It’s good to be back at Newport, I didn’t think it would be this quick but I’m happy that it is.

“I went back to Preston and the international clearance just didn’t go through so I couldn’t play for them.

“Preston haven’t got a game for a couple of weeks now so it made sense to come back and try to get back in the side at Newport.

“Unless something similar happens, I’ll be here until the end of the season and we’ll try to get as many points on the board as possible.

“I’ve come to play games and I definitely want to get back in the starting XI.”

Newport are the fourth club who 20-year-old Davies has played for on loan in the last three years.

He spent the 2013/14 season with York, playing 47 games.

His form there saw him start the following campaign as PNE’s first-choice left-back.

After losing his place, Davies had a short spell with Tranmere.

Earlier this season, he spent a month at Southport and then joined Newport.

PNE activated a 12-month extension of Davies’ contract shortly after he made the loan move to Newport, keeping him at Deepdale until June 2017.

By the time Preston resume action after the international break, Huntington is likely to have recovered from the calf strain which led to the attempted recall of Davies.

At Bolton, his absence saw Greg Cunningham start in a three-man defence with Tom Clarke and Bailey Wright.

Last week against Queens Park Rangers, PNE switched to a flat back four, with Clarke and Wright in the middle.

Davies is one of five Preston players currently out on loan.

Josh Brownhill, with whom the club are currently trying to negotiate a new contract, is with Barnsley and is set to play at Wembley a week on Sunday in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final against Oxford United.

Kyel Reid has been playing a big part in Bradford City’s push for the League One 
play-off places.

Reid is out of contract in the summer and will not be offered another by PNE.

Youngsters Jack Ryan and Nick Anderton are plying their trade in the National League, Ryan at Southport and Anderton with Barrow.