Patience is the virtue for Preston midfielder Jamie Thomas

Preston North End are happy to play a long game with the development of midfielder Jamie Thomas.

Saturday, 13th November 2021, 8:00 am

The 24-year-old was signed in the summer after a trial spell, having initially caught the eye playing for Bamber Bridge against the Lilywhites in a pre-season game.

His first-team involvement has been limited to a run-out as a substitute in the Carabao Cup at Mansfield in August and twice as an unused sub.

Thomas didn’t make the 25-man senior squad which is registered with the EFL in early September.

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Jamie Thomas

Instead he’s got his match experience playing for the reserves in the Central League and Lancashire Cup.

This is a second chance in senior football for Thomas after he was with Bolton and Burnley as a youngster.

PNE director Peter Ridsdale said: “Jamie is a very talented footballer, we brought him here to see if he can get up to speed.

“There are two elements of football, one is the skill factor, the other is the higher up the league you go, the pace it is played at and whether you can maintain that.

“We brought Jamie in on a contract which is not onerous in terms of the wage bill.

“He had a chance elsewhere locally in the past and now we’ve given him a chance here.

“We said to him ‘Don’t worry about today, get yourself up to speed and play in the reserve games.

“We’ll see where he is in January and then take a view next summer.

“He could turn out to be one of shrewdest signings we have made. Time will tell but it was the right move to make.”

Thomas’ next chance of match action comes on Tuesday (1pm) when PNE play Fleetwood Town at Euxton in the Central League Cup.

Meanwhile, Ridsdale has revealed PNE are having to fend off interest from the Premier League in one of their academy players.

The youngster is in the Under-14s age group.

Said Ridsdale: “We have got a player who a Premier League team is trying to tap-up if I’m allowed to use that word, or certainly have suggested he will be better off in their academy than being here.

“We’re hoping that he stays with us and continues developing here.

“Over the last few years we have lost some quality players because Premier League clubs’ strategies seem to be to suck up all the talent irrespective of whether they will have a career with them.

“Have an academy at our level is tough but we have got a group of young lads who we have high hopes for.

“Some of them are out on loan getting first-team games and we’ve got the Central League games to give them competitive action as they come through.”

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