Preston North End manager Alan Irvine thinks Eddie Nolan will develop into an excellent centre-half in time, but for now wants him to concentrate on being a left-back.
Nolan made his first appearance of the season for North End in their 2-1 Carling Cup win over Leicester on Tuesday night, setting up both goals for Chris Brown.
He's likely to be back on the bench at Ipswich this afternoon with skipper Callum Davidson resuming in the left-back slot after being given a breather in midweek.
In the second half of last season, Nolan admirably filled in at left-back when Davidson was beset by hamstring injuries.
The 21-year-old's performances earned him a call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad, with him making his senior international debut against Nigeria in May.
He's in their squad along with Sean St Ledger for next Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Cyprus and the friendly four days later with South Africa.
Irvine told the Lancashire Evening Post: "Eddie wants to be a centre-half, that is where he sees himself long term.
"He plays well in other positions too, when we signed him from Blackburn we knew he could play right across the back four.
"When you've got a small, tight squad, having players able to do that is really useful.
"I'm sure Eddie will end up as a centre-half, but at the moment he is learning to be a Championship defender.
"What he needs to do to be a centre-half in view of his height is to learn to cope against bigger players.
"It takes time, I strongly believe that central defenders get better with age. At the moment he's playing different positions which is great for his long-term education.
"Eddie has a lot going for him, he's comfortable on the ball, two-footed and athletic enough."
On the transfer front, Irvine hopes to be able to bring in a couple of new faces before the deadline which has been moved back to 5pm on
A new midfielder is on his wish-list after losing Barry Nicholson to a broken leg, while it's also thought he's looking to bolster the defence.
Said Irvine: "I would like to make some additions to the squad.
"Players are always being offered to us but they have to be someone who improves the squad and who the club can afford."
Nicholson has opted not to undergo surgery on his broken leg. He will continue his recovery with his leg in a cast.
Read more on this story in Saturday's Lancashire Evening Post
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