Preston North End defender Josh Earl joins Ipswich Town on loan

Preston left-back Josh Earl has joined Ipswich Town on loan
Preston left-back Josh Earl has joined Ipswich Town on loan

Preston North End defender Josh Earl has joined League One promotion-chasers Ipswich Town on loan for the rest of the season.

The 21-year-old spent the first-half of the campaign with Bolton Wanderers as North End looked to get him a regular run of first-team football.

But he damaged ankle ligaments on his debut in August and didn't return to action until October.

Earl made 11 appearances for Bolton, with his loan running out on January 5. It was expected that he would return there but Bolton chose not to take him again.

While it is a return to League One for Southport-born Earl, it will be at the top end of the division this time.

Ipswich are currently third in the table, four points behind top two Rotherham United and Wycombe Wanderers.

Josh Earl in action for Preston against Sheffield United last season

Josh Earl in action for Preston against Sheffield United last season

Earl came through PNE's academy and had a loan spell with Lancaster City towards the end of the 2016/17 season to help his development.

He was given his first-team debut by Alex Neil in August 2017 and went on to make 20 appearances that campaign.

Last season, Earl was restricted to the role of back-up to Andrew Hughes and made 16 appearances.

After putting pen to paper on Monday morning, Earl told the official Ipswich Town website: "The move came around quite quickly,

"I got told on the Friday that I was possibly moving down to Ipswich on Sunday and I’m here now and can’t wait to get started.

"I watched the game back and the lads played really well on Saturday, so hopefully we can carry that form into tomorrow’s match at Oxford.

"I feel as though it’s a great squad and the only aim for everyone this season is to push for the top two."