It’s Scunny side up for PNE utility man

Jack King has no regrets over Deepdale exit
Jack King has no regrets over Deepdale exit
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Jack King says a desire for regular first-team football was the reason behind him agreeing to a move to Scunthorpe so soon after Preston North End’s Wembley triumph.

The utility player saw his appearances dry up in the second half of the season and he did not make the PNE matchday squad for Sunday’s play-off final.

He travelled to Scunthorpe earlier in the week to put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Iron, which comes into play on July 1 when his Preston contract runs out.

King will take with him the memories of three enjoyable years at Deepdale, his first in full-time football after previously playing at semi-pro level in non-league.

The 29-year-old made 102 appearances for North End, scoring 10 goals.

But since the turn of the year he played just three times in the league – against Fleetwood, Bradford and Bristol City.

“The move happened quite quickly,” King told the Evening Post.

“I had not been playing as much as I wanted to, especially at the back end of the season.

“I’m 29 and at an age where I need to be playing games regularly.

“It was my agent who set things up and made the phone calls, while I concentrated on being ready for Wembley if I was needed.

“It was only on Tuesday that I went to Scunthorpe to speak with the people there and agree to the move.

“I’m leaving behind a fine club at Preston and I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time here.

“Wembley was great on Sunday, although personally it was a shame to miss out on being in the squad.

“But I enjoyed the day and for the lads to do what they did on the pitch was magnificent.

“We got everything right on the day and it is brilliant that Preston have got back to the Championship.

“When I first came here three years ago, the ambition was to get promoted.

“It didn’t happen that first season and then last year we had the disappointment of being beaten in the play-offs by Rotherham.

“We bounced back from that and then showed character after losing against Colchester on the last day.

“Overall it’s been a superb season and I will look back on my time here with much fondness, knowing I played a part.

“I played quite a bit at the start of the season then found myself out of the team from January onwards.

“I got my chance at Fleetwood and then played the games against Bradford and Bristol City.”

King filled a variety of roles in PNE colours, his first time playing at right-back being a particular highlight.

“Probably my stand-out display was when I played at right-back away at Doncaster in my first season,” said King.

“That night I scored a goal and also hit the bar with a shot from 40 yards.

“When I shot from there I could hear the groans from the bench but that changed when I went so close.

“Turning pro and coming here three years ago was a bit of gamble on Preston’s part and also on my part.

“I think I have repaid that faith with more than 100 appearances.

“It is a new chapter now for Preston in the Championship and I hope they do really well.

“I’m sure they will because it is a great squad and staff that they have in place.”

Also moving on from PNE is Keith Keane, the midfielder having agreed a two-year deal with Cambridge United.

He spent last season on loan with Crawley and Stevenage, having been out of the picture at Deepdale. He recently had surgery to repair a shoulder injury sustained at Stevenage.