Loan switch will give Preston North End striker the chance to play first-team football - something he's not had at Deepdale

Connor Simpson in pre-season training with Preston North End
Connor Simpson in pre-season training with Preston North End

Preston North End striker Connor Simpson has moved across Lancashire in search of first-team football.

The 19-year-old has joined Accrington Stanley on loan for the season and will be looking to get a run of games with the League One outfit.

Connor Simpson after his Preston debut at Villa Park in February 2018

Connor Simpson after his Preston debut at Villa Park in February 2018

That is something which has eluded him at North End since arriving in a £50,000 move from Hartlepool United.

Only once has he turned out for PNE’s first-team, that as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa as Villa Park in February 2018.

This will be the fourth time Simpson has been loaned out by Preston.

In March 2018 he went to Lancaster United, while last season he had spells with Hyde United and Carlisle.

Between the Hyde and Carlisle loans, Simpson was recalled by North End to help cover last December's injury crisis and he was on the bench three times over Christmas.

During his time at Carlisle he made one start and came off the bench seven times, scoring once.

Simpson was a low-risk signing by PNE in January 2018, with him 17 at the time.

He’d only played a handful of games for Hartlepool, with Preston seeing him as one for the future.

At 6ft 6in, Simpson is the ideal targetman but needs games to develop.

Over the weekend, he had been linked with moves to Scottish clubs Hibernian and Hearts.

It is understood though, that neither Edinburgh club had been in touch with North End about a deal.

Accrington’s approach came on Monday morning and the loan deal was concluded by lunchtime.

They made contact having been hit by injuries to two of their strikers.

Courtney Baker-Richards and Offrande Zanzala have both suffered hamstring injuries of late.

Stanley boss John Coleman told Accrington's official club website: “We have lost two strikers at the blink of an eye which hasn’t been ideal.

“We need cover in that area and Connor has a lot of potential.

“This is a chance for him to kick-start his career.”

Simpson is under contract at PNE until June 2020 having signed a two-and-a-half year deal when he joined.

So this loan takes him through to the end of that.

While the transfer window for clubs in the Championship and Premier League closed on August 8, League One and Two clubs are able to trade until 5pm on Monday.

Non-league clubs can still do business during the season and that may offer the chance for North End to loan out some of their young players to gain experience.