PNE defender not for sale

A bandaged-up Greg Cunningham during PNE's game at Barnsley
A bandaged-up Greg Cunningham during PNE's game at Barnsley

Preston North End have knocked back speculation linking Greg Cunningham with Cardiff City.

It has been claimed that the Irishman is being tracked by Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock.

Deepdale sources say there has been no contact from the South Wales outfit and they have no interest in selling a player who has performed so consistently for two seasons.

Cunningham has started 93 games for the Lilywhites since signing from Bristol City on a free transfer in July 2015.

He was player of the year in his first season with the club and performed strongly again in the campaign just ended.

Cunningham’s season came to an early end when he fractured the tibia in his right leg against Norwich City on Easter Monday.

However, he is expected to have fully recovered in time to start pre-season training with his team-mates on June 29.

The 26-year-old is under contract until June 2019 after signing a three-year deal last summer.

It is not the first time he has been the subject of speculation. Last season, he was linked with Aston Villa and Wolves, while in January, Newcastle were said to be eyeing him.

PNE are keen to keep the core of their squad together, as they were in January when there was strong interest in Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson.

There is plenty of room for additions, North End manager Simon Grayson thought be on the look-out for half-a-dozen players. If any of the players who have been on the fringes of the squad depart, they will need replacing too.

Cunningham is one of three North End players who will keep the physio busy in the close-season break.

Tom Barkhuizen and Tom Clarke are recovering after surgery, Clarke’s injury the most serious of those two.

He ruptured his Achilles tendon in April and will be out until early in 2018.

Barkhuizen had a hernia operation last week, having been nursed through the last few weeks of the season with the groin problem.

The January signing from Morecambe will be fit for the start of pre-season training.

He told North End’s official website: “I managed to train fully with the squad, not miss any days.

“The fact that I was playing and doing okay took my mind off it.

“I think it started during a reserve game in February but I managed to play through it.

“As I carried on playing it just got worse and worse and the physio diagnosed it as a hernia.

“We pencilled it in straight away to get it sorted in the week after the season.

“Thankfully I’ve got it done now and hopefully I’ll be fit for next season.”