PNE exit nears for Josh

Midfielder Josh Brownhill is on the verge of leaving Preston at the end of a campaign in which he was twice a Wembley winner.

Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 5:00 am
Josh Brownhill (centre) with the League One play-off final trophy on Sunday

The 20-year-old is out of contract next month and has not responded to the offer of a new two-year deal from PNE.

It is understood that another Championship club have been in touch with the Lilywhites to negotiate a compensation fee.

North End are entitled to compensation as Brownhill is under 24 and has been offered a contract by them.

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He spent the second half of the season on loan at Barnsley, and was in their midfield for Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Millwall in the League One play-off final.

Last month, Brownhill was in the Tykes side which won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, beating Oxford 3-2.

Barnsley would like to keep him but Bristol City would seem favourites to secure his services.

It was City head coach Lee Johnson who initially took Brownhill to Barnsley in January when in charge at Oakwell.

Since moving to Ashton Gate, Johnson has kept tabs on the youngster’s progress.

North End were keen to keep hold of Brownhill and see him continue his development at Deepdale.

But first-team opportunities have been at a premium for him in the last year or so.

A regular for the first half of the 2014/15 season, he made only four appearances in the last four months of that campaign and was not in Preston’s matchday squad at Wembley 12 months ago. In the season just finished, he made six appearances in a PNE shirt – starts in the cup competitions against Crewe, Watford and Peterborough, while he came off the bench in league games with Brentford, Huddersfield and Hull.

He got the chance to play at Barnsley, making 27 appearances and scoring three goals.

Competition in the Preston midfield was stern last season, with Paul Gallagher, Daniel Johnson, Alan Browne, Ben Pearson, John Welsh and Neil Kilkenny all vying for places.

Kilkenny has been released but Liam Grimshaw will be available for pre-season training after knee surgery which delayed his involvement since signing from Manchester United in January.