It’s time for talks: New contract negotiations to be held with Preston quartet

Preston North End will hold further contract talks with four key players after the close of the transfer window.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 17th October 2020, 8:00 am

A low key deadline day saw no movement in or out of Deepdale, one brief flurry of activity seeing Huddersfield ask about taking David Nugent on loan.

That only came in the final hour of trading and the move didn’t materialise.

Ben Pearson, Ben Davies, Daniel Johnson and Alan Browne stayed put, the quartet all out of contract in June next year.

Preston North End's Ben Pearson

North End are keen to get their signatures on new deals and will see what the views of the players are now that the window has shut.

If any of the four are still not minded to extend their stays, the January window is the last opportunity to get a fee for them.

North End rejected bids for Johnson and Davies in August, Rangers offering £1.5m for Johnson and Bournemouth £3m for Davies.

Sheffield United, Celtic and West Ham were claimed to have had an interest in Davies although didn’t bid.

Johnson is set to return to the squad for tomorrow’s game against Cardiff City at Deepdale (12pm).

The midfielder is yet to feature in the league this season, to start with due to the speculation surrounding Rangers’ interest and then because of a groin injury.

Whether Browne is in the squad remains to be seen, with him currently self-isolating after being a close contact of a Republic of Ireland player who tested positive for Covid.

Davies and Pearson have started all four of North End’s Championship matches to date.

Huddersfield’s interest in Nugent came out of the blue.

They contacted Preston yesterday afternoon and a deal was struck for the striker to join the Terriers on loan for the rest of the season, with a break clause in January.

Things then went quiet and the 5pm deadline passed.

It means Nugent, 35, stays on the books at least until January.

Had he wanted to settle up the remainder of his contract, that had to be done before yesterday’s deadline.

Nugent won’t be named in the 25-man squad which PNE have to register by Tuesday.

On top of that 25, they can register an unlimited number of Under-21 players.

Nugent hasn’t trained with North End since pre-season.

The club’s one signing of the window, Emil Riis, will be in the squad for Cardiff’s visit which is live on Sky Sports.

Riis has been away with Denmark’s Under-21 squad but was back training at Euxton yesterday.

Darnell Fisher will miss tomorrow’s game because of a hamstring strain suffered earlier in the month.