Preston North End have handed a professional contract to youngster Michael Howard and loaned him out to Cork City.
The 18-year-old forward was in the second year of a scholarship with North End and had been training with the first-team squad.
He has signed an 18-month deal with the option of a further year.
To gain first-team experience Howard has been loaned to Cork until June, the League of Ireland's transfer window due to shut on Thursday.
Cork were the club Preston signed Sean Maguire, Alan Browne and Kevin O'Connor from.
Southport-born Howard has been in North End's academy since the age of eight.