Preston North End have signed goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on loan from Manchester United.
Johnstone has come on a 28-day loan, replacing Jordan Pickford who has been recalled by parent club Sunderland.
It is a Deepdale return for Johnstone who made 25 appearances for North End during a loan spell in the second-half of last season.
The Lilywhites spent much of the summer trying to bring 22-year-old Johnstone back but the uncertainty over United’s goalkeeping position meant the Red Devils would not loan him out.
Their attention turned to Pickford who thrived in the PNE keeper’s jersey, keeping 13 clean sheets in his 27 appearances.
Despite his recall, the door is not closed on a return one day for Pickford.
PNE boss Simon Grayson said: “Jordan has gone back. We had an agreement in the summer that he would be for the year but obviously Sunderland had an option that they could recall him in January if they needed to.
“Given how well he has played, it is not a surprise they have called him back.
“Sam Allardyce wantes to have a look at him and Jordan goes back with our thanks, we are grateful for what he has done for us.
“The lad has been fantastic to work with, he has contributed massively.
“He is going to be a top goalkeeper, whether that is at Sunderland or further down the line somewhere else.
“The disappointment of him going back is balanced out by the positive news that we have been able to sign Sam Johnstone on a 28-day loan.
“He is someone we know well and tried to sign in the summer.
“This loan gets Sam some game time and Manchester United will assess the situation again at the end of it.”
Looking beyond the end of January, Grayson said that a number of options were available with regards the keeper situation.
Grayson said: “We could sign Sam on a 93-day loan or on loan until the end of the season.
“There is still the option of maybe Jordan coming back somewhere down the line.
“But in the short term we have got Sam at Preston for the weekend and for all of January.
“We will see where we go after that.”