Todd’s fired up for PNE test

Todd Kane during PNE's win at Hartlepool on New Year's Day 2013
Todd Kane during PNE's win at Hartlepool on New Year's Day 2013
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Two years ago this weekend Todd Kane made his debut in senior football with Preston North End.

The teenager joined PNE on loan from Chelsea to cover injuries which had hit the right-back position.

His six-week stay was a strange one in many ways, in keeping with the closing stages of Graham Westley’s time as Deepdale manager.

Rarely was Kane used in the right-back role he was signed to play and he made only five starts before heading back to Stamford Bridge.

Almost straight away he was loaned back out to Blackburn, staying there for the rest of the 2012/13 campaign.

Kane then spent all of last season with Rovers, playing 28 times.

The 21-year-old became the loan ranger again last week when he joined Bristol City until January 18.

His Robins debut came as a 75th-minute substitute in the weekend defeat at Swindon.

City boss Steve Cotterill made his move for Kane after a hamstring injury ruled out regular right wing-back Mark Little.

Scott Wagstaff has stood in for the last three games and Kane provides more cover.

Kane said: “I’m honoured to have joined Bristol City – it’s a great club.

“I want to take this opportunity to show what I can do and help Bristol City.

“This is a great team and there’s a fantastic work ethic throughout the club.

“Every player wants to win silverware and the goal here is to win the league.

“The lads are passionate and so is the manager. I spoke to family and friends about the move but I jumped at the chance to come here.”

Kane will be part of a City squad licking their wounds after Swindon inflicted their first league defeat of the season last Saturday.

It was a feisty affair, City playing nearly all the game with 10 men after midfielder Wade Elliott was red carded for violent conduct in only the third minute.

Cotterill’s men still hold a four-point lead at the top of the table though, a gap which North End will seek to close at Ashton Gate on Saturday.

Ten wins in 17 games have taken the Robins to the summit.

They strengthened well in the summer, Luke Freeman, Korey Smith, Aaron Wilbraham and Kieran Agard among their recruits.

On the flip side, they saw striker Sam Baldock – scorer of 26 goals last season – depart to Championship outfit Brighton in August in a big-money switch.

Wilbraham and Agard have stepped into goalscoring duty, the experienced Wilbraham having netted 11 times – nine in the league – and former Rotherham man Agard seven.

Agard scored for Rotherham in their play-off second leg victory over North End at the New York Stadium in May.

City boss Cotterill will soon celebrate his first anniversary in charge at Ashton Gate and has turned their fortunes around, having inherited a struggling side.

He was appointed on December 3 last year, succeeding Sean O’Driscoll who had been sacked on the eve of City’s 1-0 defeat to PNE at Deepdale the week before.

Cotterill is well known in Lancashire after his three years in charge of Burnley.

He was interested in the PNE job after Paul Simpson’s sacking seven years ago, having just left the Clarets.