PNE goalie’s keeping it clean

Jordan Pickford during his England Under-21s debut at Deepdale
Jordan Pickford during his England Under-21s debut at Deepdale
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Jordan Pickford hopes that the clean sheet on his debut for England Under-21s can be a sign of things to come at Preston North End once he returns from international duty.

Pickford kept it clean during his hour on the pitch against USA Under-23s at Deepdale on Thursday night.

He now heads to Norway with Gareth Southgate’s squad for Monday’s Euro qualifier before returning to the PNE fold in midweek.

Four of his seven games in the North End keeper’s jersey have resulted in clean sheets.

The 21-year-old is fairly pleased with how his first month at the club has gone since joining on a season’s loan from Sunderland.

Pickford told the Evening Post: “Playing for England at Deepdale was a good experience.

“Every goalkeeper’s aim is to keep a clean sheet so it was great to do that.

“I’ve had a good first month or so here, playing in seven Preston games and then for England.

“A couple of the recent league results have not gone our way but we were playing against some top teams.

“Even in the games we have lost we have matched the other team in our play and even had the better chances.

“We just need to carry on doing our own thing and we’ll get back to picking up some good results.

“After the internationals we have two home games in a row and it would be good to get wins from both of them.”

There will be two news faces in the dressing room when Pickford comes back from England duty next week, Stevie May and Eoin Doyle having arrived on deadline day.

Said Pickford: “I was away when the two lads signed but I followed what was happening on Twitter.

“Bringing in two strikers gives us the chance of more goals and it will be more help for Joe Garner up top.

“It will be good to meet them both when I get back to training later next week.”

Pickford is likely to see action in Norway on Monday night in the opening game of England’s qualifying group for the 2017 European Championships.

Their group also contains Switzerland, Bosnia and Kazakhstan.

After the friendly against the USA, it was straight back to St George’s Park to start preparing to tackle Norway.

Said Pickford: “We trained and stayed at St George’s before the game at Preston and we went back there afterwards.

“The pitches and hotel are top class there and it is a good place to be at.

“We fly to Norway on Sunday and play on Monday.”

l PNE are in Lancashire Senior Cup action against Everton at Southport’s ground on Monday night (7pm).

Simon Grayson is set to give a run-out to several of his first-team squad – Kyel Reid, Josh Brownhill and Jordan Hugill among the likely starters.

Admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.