I Will be back – PNE star

Will Hayhurst
Will Hayhurst
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Will Hayhurst thinks he will return to Preston North End a stronger player next season after his loan spell at York.

The Longridge flyer this week had his temporary switch to the Minstermen extended until the end of the campaign.

But if he is needed back at Deepdale to play a part in their promotion push, North End do have a 24-hour recall option.

Hayhurst played six games for York in his first month on loan, helping them climb the table to within sight of the League Two play-off places.

And after being restricted to 10 appearances for PNE this season, the winger is pleased to be getting a regular taste of first-team football.

He has got North End team-mate Ben Davies for company, Davies having been on loan at York since the summer.

Hayhurst told the Evening Post: “I’m enjoying it and it is a new experience with this being my first loan spell away from Preston.

“I set myself high standards last season after playing quite a lot of games, so I was a little bit disappointed not to have held down a regular spot this time.

“But I fully understand why that has happened because Preston are doing really well.

“I thought it was the right time to go out and get some games, get myself really sharp and fit.

“There is still the chance of being back this season, although I wouldn’t wish an injury on anyone.

“I just want everyone to stay fit and help North End to get promotion, whether that is automatically or through the play-offs.

“In the long term, I will be back at Preston in pre-season.

“This loan spell is what I needed to get some games under my belt and take that into next season.”

Having Davies in the side has helped Hayhurst settle well at York.

“We mainly play down the left-hand side of the pitch,” said Hayhurst. “He has made the left-back shirt his own and I tend to start on that wing.

“I’m still in regular touch with Preston and I’ve been back to watch a couple of the Tuesday night games.”

Hayhurst and Davies are two of five young PNE players to have been loaned out for first-team experience – the others are Steven James, Jack Ryan and Ryan Croasdale.

With no development or reserve side, going out on loan is the best way to get them competitive football.

Going forward, PNE boss Simon Grayson would like to have a development squad.

Said Grayson: “Of the lads who have gone out on loan, Will is the only one who had played a decent amount of first-team games here.

“They have gone out because we haven’t played too many reserve games recently because of all the first-team matches.

“Having a development squad is something I would like to do, and maybe in the summer we will sit down and see if it is possible.

“It would be nice to have that and give the young kids the opportunity to try and develop.

“When we released one or two scholars last year, I said that if we had a development squad they could maybe have stayed on because they had potential.”