Cort to stay at Deepdale until end of the season

Loan extension: Leon Cort will be a PNE player until the end of the season
Loan extension: Leon Cort will be a PNE player until the end of the season
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Leon Cort is staying with Preston until the end of the season.

The centre-half has been a steadying influence on North End’s defence since arriving from Burnley at the end of November.

A deal has now been agreed with the Clarets to extend his loan at Deepdale through to May.

In the five games Cort has played for North End, they’ve only leaked three goals.

Significantly, he missed the 3-1 defeat to Middlesbrough last month, and the 2-1 FA Cup exit at the hands of Nottingham Forest.

PNE boss Phil Brown told the Evening Post: “It’s been done until the end of the season.

“Leon knows what his strength is, that is being a big presence at the back.

“He has taken to the system I’ve introduced very quickly.”

Cort finished the last two games playing up front.

The 31-year-old was pushed forward to add his height to the attack as North End chased equalisers against Leicester and Middlesbrough.

“I’m not too sure whether to play him at No.5 or No.9 on Saturday,” quipped Brown in reference to Cort’s emergency striker’s role.

With the services of Cort having been secured, the North End boss now has to make a decision on the position of another loanee, Amine Linganzi.

The midfielder underwent surgery to repair a hernia yesterday and faces up to six weeks out.

Linganzi was injured on his Preston debut against Leicester 12 days ago, hurting his groin at the end of the first half.

The 21-year-old joined on loan from Blackburn until the end of the season.

Brown now has to decide whether to leave that loan agreement in place, or cut it short with a view to re-signing him during the loan window once he’s fully fit.

Cutting it short would free up a loan slot in the meantime, with clubs restricted to naming five loanees in a matchday squad.

Said Brown: “Amine is being looked after by Blackburn – they are going to treat him.

“He had the operation yesterday, and the diagnosis beforehand was that he’ll be out for between four and six weeks.

“I have a decision to make once I speak to Blackburn about how the surgery went.

“At the moment, we have Amine until the end of the season.

“Blackburn have said they would take him back.

“If that happens, there would then be the opportunity of getting him again during the loan window.

“First of all, I’ll speak to Blackburn and see what the surgeon found.

“They’ve been very good about the whole thing.”

Meanwhile, Brown has confirmed the return to Deepdale on a part-time basis of physio Mick Rathbone.

He said: “Basil is on board until the end of the season. His services were offered to me through David Unsworth and I had no hesitation bringing him in.”