Decision time looms over Preston North End trialist Jamie Thomas

Preston North End are close to making a decision on trialist Jamie Thomas.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 5th August 2021, 8:00 am

The attacking midfielder is coming to the end of his second week training with Frankie McAvoy’s first-team squad at Euxton.

He has featured in two of the Lilywhites’ friendlies during pre-season and held his own in both of those.

PNE sources say Thomas has looked good in training, certainly doing his chances of earning a contract no harm.

Jamie Thomas has played as a trialist for Preston North End in pre-season

The former Bolton scholar and Burnley Under-23s player caught McAvoy’s eye playing for Bamber Bridge in the first friendly of the summer against North End.

He scored twice in that game at Euxton, both shots from outside the box.

Thomas bagged a few more goals in pre-season for Brig and his form led to Oldham letting him train with them for a couple of days.

It was during his trial at Oldham that PNE invited him to play as a trialist against Accrington Stanley last month.

The 24-year-old scored just seven minutes after coming off the bench.

He started training with Preston after that game and was an unused sub against Manchester City last week.

Last Friday night, Thomas started the 3-2 defeat against Wigan, having a hand in the first goal – sliding a pass to Scott Sinclair whose cross was put into his own net by Tendayi Darikwa.

The former Wales Under-19s international is looking to find a way back into the game full-time.

He was released by Bolton at the end of his scholarship and from there moved to Burnley.

Thomas dropped down into non-league after his time with the Clarets’ Under-23s squad, playing for Squires Gate, AFC Blackpool and then Brig who he only joined in the summer.

Coming from non-league where he didn’t train full-time, Thomas’ fitness will need work – McAvoy not hiding from that fact when speaking with the media after the Wigan game.

McAvoy’s view was that having Thomas training in the first-team environment would sharpen him up.

Whatever they decide with Thomas, the current squad will need pruning.

Daniel Iversen’s arrival on loan from Leicester takes the number of players aged over 21 or on loan, to 27.

Championship clubs can only register a maximum of 25 players in that category.

However, Izzy Brown won’t be registered at this stage as he recovers from surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon.

That injury is set to keep the midfielder out action until early next year. So that takes the senior and loan numbers down to 26.