Burnley sign Preston North End forward to Under-21s side after Ryan Lowe green light

Mikey O'NeillMikey O'Neill
Mikey O'Neill | Camera Sport
The PNE man was out of contract in the summer

Burnley Under-21s have signed young Preston North End forward Mikey O'Neill, for an undisclosed fee.

PNE manager Ryan Lowe recently told the Lancashire Post that the club were finding an 'exit strategy' for the youngster. O'Neill was set to be out of contract this summer, having spent the first half of the season with National League North side Southport.

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The forward was the first academy player to break on to the first team scene under Lowe. In the 2021/22 season, he made three appearances towards the end of the campaign. O'Neill then signed a two-year professional contract and played five games the following season, before heading out on loan to Grimsby Town.

O'Neill played 11 games for the Mariners and for hometown club Southport, he scored three goals in his 19 outings. North End's boss had decided that the player's future lied elsewhere and the Clarets - who play in the Professional Development League - have swooped in for his services. He has signed a short-term deal until the end of the season.

Last month, Lowe said: "He was obviously at Southport for a little while and was in and out of the team. The lads are trying to help him get an exit strategy, to go and further his career. We think it is only right. I think Mikey had a great start, coming in and doing well. He played some Championship games and nearly scored a couple of goals. He then, sort of, didn't really hit off and then Fin broke through after him. But, there is an exit strategy in place for Mikey to go and try find a new venture, a new club and hopefully he can kick on and have a good career."

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