Josh Brownhill was attracting Burnley’s attention during his Preston North End days

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Former Preston North End midfielder Josh Brownhill got his Premier League chance in January when he returned to Lancashire to join Burnley.

He made the move from Bristol City, with PNE earning around £1m from a sell-on clause in the compensation deal they struck with the Robins when the midfielder moved to Ashton Gate in June 2016.

Brownhill got a brief first taste of Premier League action when he came on as a late sub for Burnley in their win against Bournemouth on February 22.

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Further appearances are on hold for now as football sits on the sidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Brownhill in goalscoring action for PNEBrownhill in goalscoring action for PNE
Brownhill in goalscoring action for PNE

It transpires that Burnley were watching Brownhill in his early days at North End.

PNE signed him for their academy after leaving Manchester United as a schoolboy.

Brownhill broke into the Lilywhites’ first-team squad when he 17 and after two sub appearances, scoring in his first start in a 2-1 win against Gillingham at Priestfield in October 2013.

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He went on to play 30 games that season, netting three times. In a pre-season friendly for PNE against Burnley in July 2014, he scored a rocket of a free-kick from 35 yards.

Phil Ercolano who runs Cassias Sports, represents Brownhill.

He revealed Burnley had an interest in Brownhill as the time he was making an impact at Deepdale.

Ercolano said: “When Josh was at Preston, they (Burnley) nearly took him, they tried to get him when he was a youth player, but he slipped through the net at that point.

“They’ve always tracked him.

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“Josh scored the free-kick against Burnley in pre-season – he was only 17 or 18 then.”

Brownhill found himself out of the picture at PNE in the second half of the 2014/2015 promotion season.

Daniel Johnson signed at that time, with John Welsh, Paul Gallagher and Neil Kilkenny other options for the North End midfield.

After limited game time when PNE were back in the Championship, Brownhill went on loan to Barnsley in January 2016.

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At the end of his contract, and having turned down a new one, he signed for Bristol City.

The link was Lee Johnson who had been manager at Barnsley when Brownhill went on loan. Johnson left to take the Robins job and made the move for the midfielder.