Former Preston North End scholar could get a second chance at Deepdale

Preston North End have been running the rule over one of their former academy players, a year after releasing him.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 11:04 am

Tyler Williams left North End at the end of his two-year scholarship in the summer of 2020.

The defender went on to have a short spell with Stalybridge and then got a contract with Middlesbrough's Under-23 squad.

WIlliams left Boro in the summer and last week was invited to train with the Lilywhites.

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Tyler Williams has been training with Preston North End

PNE head coach Frankie McAvoy thinks the 19-year-old is worth a second look and has included him in first-team training at Euxton.

He was named on the bench for the pre-season friendly at Wigan Athletic last Friday night but didn't get on as McAvoy pushed most of the starters through 90 minutes.

McAvoy told PNE's iFollow: "Tyler was one of the group of boys that when Covid first kicked in there was a few of them that obviously didn’t get professional contracts that were on the periphery of getting one.

"He went to Middlesbrough and he managed to terminate his contract. I got a phone call just to say would we be interested to have a look at him and bring him back in, and that’s what we’ve done."

Jamie Thomas in action for PNE against Wigan

Manchester-born Williams was in the same year group as Tyrhys Dolan who also got released without the offer of a professional contract.

Dolan went to Blackburn's Under-23 and quickly worked his way into the first-team squad.

There's no guarantee of Williams getting a contract but the return of a North End reserve side in the Central League does mean the club are better set-up when it comes to establishing a pathway to the first-team squad.

Williams' year group at PNE were unlucky in terms of Covid hitting and making the club reluctant to hand out pro deals.

Ethan Walker was the only player from that year to get a professional contract, the winger getting that early in the second-year of his scholarship rather than at the end of it.

Williams is one of two trialists North End have had with them of late.

Jamie Thomas is in his second week training at Euxton, the attacking midfielder having played 73 minutes of the Wigan game and 45 minutes against Accrington Stanley.

He first caught PNE's eye playing for Bamber Bridge against them last month, Thomas scoring twice for Brig.

Thomas, 24, only joined Brig in the summer having played for Squires Gate and AFC Blackpool of late.

He started his career as a scholar at Bolton Wanderers and then joined Burnley, playing in their Under-23s.

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