Barnsley make transfer swoop for 25-year-old let go by Preston North End in 2022

Josh Earl is reportedly on the move. The former Preston North End man is seemingly on his way to Barnsley. (Image: Getty Images)Josh Earl is reportedly on the move. The former Preston North End man is seemingly on his way to Barnsley. (Image: Getty Images)
Josh Earl is reportedly on the move. The former Preston North End man is seemingly on his way to Barnsley. (Image: Getty Images)
A Preston North End academy graduate is closing in on a move to a club that holds ambitions of reaching the Championship.

Former Preston North End defender Josh Earl is closing in on a move to League One promotion hopefuls Barnsley.

It has been reported that Earl is nearing a move to the Tykes and the Lancashire Post understands that a deal is on the cards. The 25-year-old would be swapping a relegation battle with Fleetwood Town to fight for promotion with the Yorkshire side.

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He has been playing as a left-sided centre-back for Fleetwood and has been a consistent figure in the Cod Army's side, despite playing under three managers: Scott Brown, Lee Johnson and Charlie Adam.

The Southport-born defender's contract is due to expire at Highbury Stadium in the summer - and Fleetwood are said to be keen on cashing in now, so that any transfer fee can be reinvested ahead of Thursday's deadline. Barnsley are in need of left-sided options in defence and Earl looks like the man Neil Collins wants.

Should Earn finalise his move shortly, he would be joining a side currently fifth in League One. Barnsley, who reached the play-off final last season, are just five points off of the automatic promotion places - but Bolton Wanderers do hold a game in hand over them. The Yorkshire outfit have a three-point lead in the play-off places, over Oxford United.

Earl - who came through the youth system at Deepdale - was let go by PNE in the summer of 2022 with his contract being terminated. He was tied down until 2023. Earl made 74 appearances for the Lilywhites, with two assists made and one goal scored. During his time at Preston he played at left back and left wing-back. Lowe had actually admitted that Earl was a target for him when he was manager of Plymouth Argyle.

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He made 29 appearances in his final season at Deepdale. During his breakout years with North End, Earl attracted reported interest from Merseyside giants Everton and Liverpool - but moves failed to materialised. He found himself out of favour at one point with Alex Neil and had loans at Bolton Wanderers, Ipswich Town and Burton Albion in League One.

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