Plenty of work to do for Preston North End with 13 players out of contract next summer
Preston North End’s work to negotiate new contracts for some of their players is running alongside attempts to strengthen the squad.
Securing some of those about to enter the last year of their contracts on longer deals is regarded as a key part of the summer business.
PNE have 13 players out of contract in June 2022, some of which the club will want to secure beyond then.
That number might not be quite as alarming as it seems at first glance.
Jayden Stockley is one of the 13 and is edging closer to a move to Portsmouth.
Another is keeper Connor Ripley who will be down the pecking order should Daniel Iversen come back on loan.
Joe Rafferty, Mathew Hudson and Paul Huntington who are on the fringes of the squad, are among the 13, so too Jack Baxter currently on loan with League of Ireland First Division side Cork City.
So the main focus in the shorter term will be Jordan Storey, Tom Barkhuizen, Brad Potts, Scott Sinclair, Andrew Hughes and Patrick Bauer.
It might be that deals will not be struck with them all but that does look like being the core group where negotiations would start.
PNE keep in regular touch with players’ agents and discussions can start on a more informal basis and then be ramped up.
Storey, Barkhuizen and Hughes were all regulars under Frankie McAvoy.
Potts and Sinclair in the main he had on the bench, with Bauer unavailable since December through injury.
McAvoy tended to use Storey and Hughes either side of Liam Lindsay who this week returned to PNE full-time after being on loan from Stoke.
Barkhuizen was used in all manner of positions, proving very versatile.
The former Morecambe man was used at wing-back, in midfield and up front, with McAvoy encouraging the use of his long throw-in.
North End will want a decent number of contract negotiations concluded over the summer.
The saga over new deals for Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson, Ben Pearson and Ben Davies cast a cloud over the first half of last season.
Browne and Johnson were to finally agree new terms in January but Pearson and Davies did not, with both leaving late in the winter transfer window to sign for Bournemouth and Liverpool respectively.
With regards to comings and goings at Deepdale, PNE hope to rubber-stamp Sepp van den Berg’s loan return in the coming days. Iversen should return on loan too, once he has done some of the pre-season at Leicester.
A right-back and three attacking players are also on the wish list.