Alex Neil wants Daryl Horgan to ‘showcase’ himself during pre-season training in a bid to earn a place in the Preston North End team.
The winger is interesting Scottish club Hibernian who want to take him on loan but PNE’s preferred option at this stage is to keep hold of him.
Lilywhites boss Neil told the Post: “At this stage of the season you are always going to get speculation about players.
“Last year Daryl didn’t play as much as he would have liked but he has an opportunity now in pre-season to go and showcase what he can do.
“It’s up to him to perform to the point which makes me think, ‘We have to give him game-time, he has to play’.
“Hopefully Daryl can go and do that.”
Hibs enquired recently about a season-long loan for the 25-year-old.
But at the moment that is not an attractive option for North End.
Horgan has a year left on his PNE contract and letting him go for the season would effectively bring his time at Deepdale to a close.
A possibility could be for him to sign an extension and go on loan.
He would then have time left on his contract enabling North End to take a long-term view of the situation.
Neil seems to want to give him a chance this summer, Horgan providing an option on either wing.
The former Dundalk man was a regular in the squad last season but starts were in short supply.
Horgan only started five games – two of them in the Championship, two in the FA Cup and one in the League Cup.
He came off the bench 18 times in the league and was an unused substitute on a further 15 occasions.
Despite a shortage of starts at club level, Horgan has retained his place in the Republic of Ireland squad.
He played in their summer friendly against the United States in Dublin, coming on in the second half to replace Preston’s recent buy Graham Burke.
Horgan’s best spell of last season came either side of Christmas.
He came off the bench to score in a 2-1 win at Burton in December, steering home a good finish from the edge of the box.
His two league starts came at Barnsley on Boxing Day and Cardiff three days later.
In early January, Horgan started and scored in PNE’s 5-1 victory at Wycombe in the third round of the FA Cup.