Former Liverpool man could be Preston North End's answer to striker dilemma with Aston Villa starlet staying put

Preston North End have a striker dilemma and they may already have their short term answer to the problem.

By Tom Sandells
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 6:00 am

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They will be without Ched Evans for their next three games, starting with the Championship game against Hull City on Saturday, for the straight red card he received against Wigan Athletic on the opening day.

North End were not at their best but did create chances at the top end of the pitch, taking them being the issue.

Ben Woodburn in action at Deepdale.

It is not a problem unique to the Lilywhites though, as the opening weekend of Championship action was the lowest scoring in the competition’s history with just 16 goals across the 12 games.

With Sean Maguire still a couple of weeks away from a return from injury. Mikey O’Neill is the other striking option, though with two career appearances he may not be the go-to choice.

Instead, Ben Woodburn could be the man Ryan Lowe leans upon to step forward to be the third striker.

Lowe does also want to bring in a new striker that ‘can make something out of nothing’ and it won’t be Aston Villa’s Cameron Archer after manager Steven Gerrard confirmed he will be staying put after a bright pre-season.

There is of course still Emil Riis and Troy Parrott who started against Wigan, with both having clear chances to score, but more depth is required even within the 90 minutes never mind across three games.

Woodburn started his career up front, scoring for Liverpool and Wales to be become their youngest and second youngest scorers respectively, but has since gone on to play deeper roles, in behind the striker, wide or most recently in the middle of midfield.

The 22-year-old had a bright cameo as an ‘8’ at the DW for his PNE debut and boss Lowe knows more opportunities will come his way soon.

He said: “He definitely looked good at Wigan. I pulled him in on Friday and said I'd been happy with his performances and his work ethic all pre-season, he just needs to keep doing what he's doing.

"There are going to be opportunities, everyone knows, and he got a bit of an opportunity on Saturday.

"Those are the choices that I've got now, I've got some good quality players that can come on the pitch and help us.”