Preston North End are in favour of scrapping the ‘club-developed’ player ruling

Preston will vote in favour of scrapping the requirement of all Football League clubs to have at least one ‘club-developed’ player in their matchday squad.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 3rd June 2019, 7:00 am
Preston North End's Ben Davies

Since the start of last season, managers in the Championship and the two divisions below have been compelled to name a player who has risen up through the ranks in their squad of 18 for both league and cup games.

A club-developed player is defined as somebody who has been registered to the club for at least a year before the end of his Under-19s season.

The rule was passed at a meeting towards the end of the 2016-17 season in a bid to help academy prospects advance to first-team duties.

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If a club had failed to name a club-developed player in their matchday squad last season, then they will have only been able to name six substitutes, rather than the normal allocation of seven.

However, it is understood Stoke City have put forward a motion to have the rule scrapped – and that will be on the table to be voted upon at a meeting of all Football League clubs on Friday.

Officials at North End agree with the Potters proposal as they believe the rule is ultimately counter productive in the long run for an academy graduate’s development.

The Lilywhites have been in a fortunate position in that they have two players – Ben Davies and Josh Earl – who are academy products and have both proven to be capable of holding down a position in the starting XI over the past campaign.

Indeed, centre half Davies (23) was arguably PNE’s standout performer, while 20-year-old Earl made 16 appearances last term and 36 in total over his Preston career.

However, if either of those two got injured or were suspended then boss Alex Neil would have to call upon other academy graduates to make up his squad of 18 or risk falling foul of the rule.

North End have goalkeeper Matt Hudson and midfielder Adam O’Reilly, who have had first-team experience, while Jack Baxter and Jack Armer are youngsters yet to make a senior appearance.

It could well be the case that the management at North End have prevented some of their academy graduates from going out on loan somewhere and gaining much-needed game time because of the ruling.

Meanwhile , North End are hopeful of confirming their entire pre-season fixture list shortly. The club announced last week that they have agreed away fixtures against Bamber Bridge, Cork City, AFC Fylde, Chorley and Fleetwood Town.

There are two dates – July 20 and 23 – which are still open but the club are hoping to announce home games against Premier League opposition or from abroad.