PNE exit for Russell

Free agent: Darel Russell ' in action for Charlton last season
Free agent: Darel Russell ' in action for Charlton last season
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Darel Russell was today heading for the Deepdale exit after Preston North End agreed to cancel the last year of his contract.

And close behind him is expected to be fellow midfielder Barry Nicholson, who has been talking with Fleetwood.

The deal done with Russell, 31, ends a two-year stay at North End which was largely unproductive.

He spent six months on loan at League One champions Charlton last season.

PNE chairman Peter Ridsdale told the Evening Post: “We’ve come with a financial arrangement with Darel and his agent.

“That verbal agreement should be written-off today and he goes with our best wishes.

“Barry Nicholson – with our permission – has been talking to Fleetwood and we believe a deal will be done there.

“He’s been an outstanding professional for us and if he does leave, all our supporters should recognise what he has given to Preston.”

Russell and Nicholson were excused a belated return to pre-season training yesterday in light of their impending exits.

Eight other members of the PNE squad reported back though, after being given a well-publicised extra week off.

Ridsdale confirmed those players as being Iain Hume, Paul Coutts, Craig Morgan, Keammar Daley, Conor McLaughlin, Danny Mayor, Jamie Proctor and Adam Barton.

They had meetings with Graham Westley at Deepdale and will train at a gym in East Lancashire for the next couple of weeks.

Said Ridsdale: “For varying reasons, we are prepared to listen to offers for them.

“Either they would like to move on or it’s because we are coming up against the financial fair play rules.

“Some of them were players with us in the Championship who didn’t have relegation clauses in their contracts. We’re not punishing them in any way – it’s not about that.

“Many clubs in this country will have players in their squad who they are looking to move on and will be doing a slightly different training regime at the moment.

“I read that Peterborough had gone to Spain and left behind players who they expected to be leaving. But just at the moment people seem to be knocking Preston for doing similar, which I don’t really understand.

“Graham met with the eight players yesterday both individually and collectively.

“He’s arranged for them to train at a gym for the next 10 days, doing a programme the others have done.

“If some are still here after doing that fitness work, we’ll see how they can be integrated back into the squad.”

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