Josh Earl and Josh Ginnelly aiming to impress at Preston North End after loan spells away
Two Preston players who spent time away from Deepdale on loan last season will be back at Springfields next week to try and catch Alex Neil’s eye.
Josh Earl and Josh Ginnelly had loan spells in League One in a bid to get more first-team football under their belts.
Both suffered injuries though, which meant a little less game time than they had hoped for.
Then League One being curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic brought their seasons to a halt.
Left-back Earl went to Bolton and then Ipswich, with Ginnelly loaned to Bristol Rovers.
Like a number of their PNE team-mates, the pair are now in the final year of their contracts.
North End start pre-season training on Thursday, the squad having four weeks of hard work ahead of them before the season starts on September.
It is three years since Earl broke into the Preston team, his debut coming against Reading in August 2017.
He played 20 games that season then 16 the next.
Last summer North End took the decision to loan the Southport-based defender out to further his experience.
Earl joined Bolton but 20 minutes into his debut suffered an ankle injury which eventually required surgery.
He returned to play 10 more games for Wanderers before the loan ended in January.
With Bolton not wanting to commit to a second loan spell, Earl, 21, joined Ipswich.
He played seven times for the Tractor Boys before the season ground to a halt.
Earl’s time in Suffolk was not without a bit of pain, with him suffering a facial injury which required him to wear a protective mask in some of the games.
As a naturally left-footed player, Earl will be looking to rival Andrew Hughes for the left-back position.
Ginnelly went to Bristol Rovers in January, the winger making five starts and four appearances from the bench in their colours.
At the end of February he suffered a hip injury and was back at PNE having treatment when the lockdown came in.
In the first half of last season he featured three times in the League Cup and as a substitute in the 3-3 draw with Bristol City.
Signed in January 2019 from Walsall, Ginnelly was seen as a ‘project’, a player to try and develop rather than anything near the finished article.
The 23-year-old has not really had the chance to show his worth, all but one of his appearances for North End coming from the bench.
He will be hoping for a strong showing in pre-season but does have competition in the wide areas.