Premier League Brighton won’t be only club keeping tabs on Preston North End defender Ben Davies

Ben Davies congratulates Daneil Johnson on scoring Preston's opening goal against Barnsley
Ben Davies congratulates Daneil Johnson on scoring Preston's opening goal against Barnsley

Preston defender Ben Davies brought his ton up in the win over Barnsley and was straight away subject of speculation linking him with a big-money move to the Premier League.

Davies’ appearance against the Tykes at Deepdale was his 100th in all competitions for North End – 88 of those being during Alex Neil’s reign.

Over the weekend a national newspaper claimed that Brighton were eyeing Davies and would be prepared to make a £10m offer for him in January.

Whether there is mileage in the Seagulls’ interest, remains to be seen.

But it is not a surprise to see a player of Davies’ talents at a club in the higher reaches of the Championship, being on the Premier League radar.

The word from PNE is that this squad – certainly the core of it – will not be broken up this season as they mount a push for promotion.

Davies has 20 months left on his current contract and a new deal will be discussed.

Of course there have been big-money departures from Deepdale of late when offers have come in from Premier League clubs.

Jordan Hugill went to West Ham in January 2018, Greg Cunningham joined Cardiff six months later, then Callum Robinson signed for Sheffield United in the summer.

With Preston in third place and looking like they could mount a sustained challenge at the top end, they know that keeping hold of key players is vital – 24-year-old Davies fits into that category.

He and Patrick Bauer have formed a strong pairing at 
the heart of the back four this season.

On the appearances front, it has taken Davies a good while to reach 100 in a PNE shirt.

His debut came back in January 2013 when he was 17, with him playing the final three matches of the choppy Graham Westley era.

He spent the next campaign on loan at York and then started the first six games of the 2014/15 season in the North End team.

There followed loan spells with Tranmere, Southport, Newport and Fleetwood in between 2014 and 2017.

In among those loans were three League Cup matches for Preston – at Crewe in August 2015, then at Bournemouth and Newcastle in 2016.

After a successful loan at Fleetwood, Davies was close to joining them in the summer of 2017.

Neil’s arrival changed that, he had liked what he had seen from Davies. And he hass been a regular in the PNE defence since.