Local lad Jack Armer to join Preston North End's professional ranks
It might not have been the headline on Preston North End's retained list but local lad Jack Armer has graduated from the club's academy to the professional ranks.
The 18-year-old defender has been offered a professional contract after being in PNE's academy since the age of nine.
He is the third player from this season's second year scholars to be taken on professionally, Jack Baxter and Adam O'Reilly having signed pro deals in recent months.
South Ribble-based Armer has represented Scotland at Under-16s and Under-17s level.
Armer is a talented cricketer too, with him on Lancashire's books for a time and he plays for Penwortham Cricket Club in the Palace Shield.
A regular in PNE's Under-18s, he featured in the FA Youth Cup victory over Charlton in December, scoring one of the penalties in the shoot-out after the third round tie had finished 2-2.
Surgery to remove his appendix ruled him out of the win over Norwich and the defeat to Bury in the next two rounds.
Armer plays as a left-sided centre-half or as a left-back.
During the season, he trained with the first-team squad at regular intervals so will be no stranger to the first-team set-up when he reports back for pre-season training at the end of June.
While Armer, Baxter and O'Reilly will join the professional ranks, seven of the second-year scholars - James Cottam, Callum Lenton, Lewis Simmonds, Preieux Ngongo, Jermome Jolly, Josh Pollard and Darren Branngian - have been released.
An eighth, Hafizal Rahman, is to remain with PNE while he recovers from an injury.
PNE academy manager Nick Harrison told North End's official website: "I hope they’ll look back long-term and realise that they’ve had a good time at Preston North End.
“We’ve tried to give them everything that we can and we often find that the players who leave come back in and say ‘hello’ a couple of years down the line.
“Hopefully we will see that from them and hopefully they can kick on, find another club and have a successful career, whether that’s in football or not.”