Former Preston North End midfielder joins Atherton Collieries

John Welsh in action for Preston North End against Aston Villa
John Welsh in action for Preston North End against Aston Villa

Former Preston North End midfielder John Welsh has signed a short-term deal with Atherton Collieries.

Welsh had been without a club since leaving Grimsby Town in March and recently had a trial with Chorley - playing for the Magpies in their Lancashire Senior Cup defeat to PNE last month.

John Welsh playing for Chorley against Preston in September        Photo: Stefan Willoughby

John Welsh playing for Chorley against Preston in September Photo: Stefan Willoughby

He spent six seasons with North End, joining in July 2012 on a Bosman from Tranmere Rovers, and was in the team which won the League One play-off final at Wembley in 2015.

PNE released him in June 2018 at the end of his contract and he joined Grimsby that summer for what turned out to be a relatively short stay.

In March, Welsh received a suspended prison sentence and community service order for an assault in Liverpool.

Atherton play in the BetVictor Norhern Premier League, the same division as Bamber Bridge and Lancaster City.

Collieries manager Michael Clegg told their club website: "John has had an unbelievable playing career.

"We are just delighted to have him on board and for the lads to learn from him. He is a leader. His career tells its own story.

“It’s a real coup for us. I’m sure if John enjoys playing he still has a higher move in him, but we will enjoy it while it lasts."