Preston North End close in on Peterborough left-back Andrew Hughes

Andrew Hughes in action for Peterborough against Fleetwood
Andrew Hughes in action for Peterborough against Fleetwood

Preston are expecting to get a deal done for Andrew Hughes as they look to fill the vacancy created by Greg Cunningham’s exit from Deepdale.

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It is understood that a fee has been agreed with League One side Peterborough for left-back Hughes and the next stage is for him to undergo a medical.

The Lilywhites watched Hughes in action a number of times last season and see him as the ideal player to compete with Josh Earl for the left-back position.

Hughes can also operate in the centre of defence, PNE manager Alex Neil very keen on flexible players.

Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony first revealed North End’s interest in Hughes on social media on Tuesday night.

Posh chief executive Barry Fry expanded on that, saying that the 26-year-old was keen to make the step up to the Championship with North End.

They triggered a 12-month extension to Hughes’ contract this summer, enabling Posh to get a fee for him.

Said Fry: “His original contract runs out at the end of June, but we have taken up the option of another year.

“We’ve spoken to his agent about a further extension, but he insists that won’t happen,

“Andrew is 26. He has only played for us and Newport.

“He fancies the challenge of the Championship and the benefits that come from that.”

Hughes was in Cardiff’s academy as a schoolboy but his first-team break came at Newport County.

He played 150 games for the Exiles and was a team-mate of Ben Davies during the North End defender’s loan spell in South Wales.

Two years ago, he joined Posh on a Bosman and has made 102 appearances there, scoring four goals. It was Cunningham’s move to Cardiff last week which saw North End enter the market for a left-back.

It looks like being a straight fight between Hughes and Earl for Cunningham’s shirt.

Earl certainly impressed when he replaced the injured Cunningham in the side early last season, Neil handing him his league debut in August.

After a run of 12 games, he himself was injured and had knee surgery.

By the time 19-year-old Earl returned, Cunningham was fit but the teenager still managed eight more appearances.

The other left-back on the books, Kevin O’Connor, spent the second half of last season on loan at Fleetwood – one which was not a huge success.

And if the Hughes deal gets done, it could well be that the former Cork City man goes out on loan again.

O’Connor has two years left on his contract and it might be that PNE want to see how he develops on loan before taking a long-term decision on him.