Competition is tough for Preston North End's Graham Burke

Graham Burke got his name on the scoresheet in Preston North End’s win against Chorley but what comes next for the Irishman is open to debate.
Preston forward Graham BurkePreston forward Graham Burke
Preston forward Graham Burke

The Republic of Ireland international ran clear to meet a Sean Maguire through ball in the clash at Victory Park and finished confidently.

He has been back with PNE in pre-season after being loaned to Gillingham in League One for the second half of the 2018/19 campaign.

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Clearly the 25-year-old is down the pecking order – for example at AFC Fylde last week he was an unused sub on the day North End fielded 21 outfield players during the course of the game.

Graham Burke scores for Preston against Chorley at Victory ParkGraham Burke scores for Preston against Chorley at Victory Park
Graham Burke scores for Preston against Chorley at Victory Park

But there was a spare slot in the squad for the Chorley visit by reason of Tom Clarke’s absence due to a stomach bug.

North End boss Alex Neil said: “Graham is a good lad, technically he is a good footballer.

“The finish at Chorley, you could see he is a good player, there is no question about that. The thing with Graham is that his best position is as a No.10 and he has competition from Alan Browne and Brad Potts.

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“In the last two seasons Alan has scored a lot of goals for us playing there.

“So really it’s difficult for Graham.

“He needs to keep performing as best he can and go from there.

“Graham did himself no harm whatsoever in what he did against Chorley. He did very well so we will see how it goes.”

Burke joined North End from Shamrock Rovers last summer.

He featured in the early games of last season, scoring his first Championship goal against Stoke in August.

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From September onwards he fell out of favour, returning to the squad in December as injuries hit the PNE squad.

Burke featured in eight games in December and early January before being loaned out to Gillingham.

He made 12 starts for the Kent club, scoring once in a 4-2 away victory over AFC Wimbledon in March.