Ben Whiteman discusses Preston North End future with 12 months left on deal, return to Sheffield United and play-off chances

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Ben Whiteman will be returning to the club where he started his career this weekend, as Preston North End travel to Sheffield United on Saturday.

Although Whiteman spent the early parts of his time as a youth player at Manchester United, Whiteman made his professional debut with the Blades in 2014. He had loan spells with Mansfield Town and Doncaster Rovers before joining the latter on a permanent deal in 2018.

Since joining North End from Donny, Whiteman has been a key figure in the side and that has been the case again this season as they have taken their play-off chase into the final two games of the season.

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They will be coming up against already promoted United, who beat West Brom in midweek to secure second spot in the Championship.

Preston North End's Ben Whiteman in actionPreston North End's Ben Whiteman in action
Preston North End's Ben Whiteman in action

Speaking to the Lancashire Post, Whiteman discussed the season so far, going to his former club and his future, with just over 12 months left on his current contract.

What have you made of this season?

It's a tight league. If you'd have offered us the chance to be two points off the play-off places with two games to go we'd have ripped your hand off. But we've got two more games now, two cup finals, and hopefully we can do it. You look at Sheffield United, they got a result the other night so I don't know how they're going to approach the game, what they're going to do, but we've got to play it by ear and win the game. There's no doubt about that.

Sheffield United secured second place and promotion in the week, meaning they will be in the Premier League next season, are you hoping they turn up on Saturday a bit hungover from all the celebrations?

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Yeah, probably! They'll enjoy their time, I don't know what they'll do between now and the game but fair play to them, they deserve it. They're the second best side in the league and they deserve it. Well done to them.

You come up against your former side in Sheffield United this weekend, is it a fixture that you look out for?

No not really, I only played a handful of games. Obviously they gave me my chance which I'll always be thankful for. I wouldn't say that I look out for the game that much but I know a lot of people there and I'm happy for them to be in the Premier League.

Did you expect PNE to be where they are now, at the start of the season?

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Probably, yeah, in terms of what we spoke about pre-season and the confidence that we had in the group. Listen, we're going to go through parts with ups and downs through the seasons. We're not going to go and romp the league by however many points. We’re going to be in and about it, fighting, it's about sticking with us I think. The fans have done that this season and hopefully we can repay that by getting into a play-off spot.

You have 12 months left on your contract, are there any plans at the moment?

It's one of them, you sit down in the summer with the people in charge and see where we're at. There have been no discussions so far but we'll see where we go and what happens. I love it here, it's a great club for me and it's one of them where we'll see what the future holds but I have loved it here.