Preston North End midfielders in running for best goal award

Preston midfielders Adam O'Reilly and Jack Baxter
Preston midfielders Adam O'Reilly and Jack Baxter

Jack Baxter and Adam O’Reilly certainly signed off their time in Preston North End’s youth team in style before stepping up to the club’s full-time ranks.

The midfielder pair are both in the running for the League Football Education's goal of the month award for April.

Both found the net with superb finishes in the Lancashire Youth Cup final against Wigan Atheltic at Leyland's County Ground.

It was a game which PNE lost 5-2 but O’Reilly and Baxter at least had their shooting boots on that morning.

Skipper O’Reilly found the net with a 20-yard shot into the roof of the net.

Distance wise though, it was nothing on what Baxter produced in the second half.

Jack Baxter in the warm-up for Preston at Birmingham last December

Jack Baxter in the warm-up for Preston at Birmingham last December

When North End won a free-kick 10 yards inside their own half, Baxter quickly put the ball down, spotted the goalkeeper off his line and launched it into the net.

It could even be described as David Beckham-esque!

The North End pair are on an eight-man shortlist for the goal of the month award.

Whoever wins the April award will go through to the LFE’s goal of the season voting.

Preston midfielder Adam O'Reilly on his debut against Aston Villa

Preston midfielder Adam O'Reilly on his debut against Aston Villa

O’Reilly is already in that, having won January’s award. Voting for the award runs until May 17 and can be done via Twitter or the LFE website

On Twitter, the hashtag #LFEGOALB should be used to vote for Baxter's goal and #LFEGOALH for O'Reilly.

The LFE, established in 2004, manages the apprenticeship programme at EFL clubs.

Their goal of the month award covers matches in the academy leagues.

Baxter and O’Reilly both signed professional contracts in the season just finished.

Chorley-born Baxter, 18, joined PNE’s academy when he was nine.

He was on the bench for North End’s first team four times, most recently against Sheffield Wednesday last month.

O’Reilly, who turned 18 this week, made his first-team debut as a substitute in December’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

He joined PNE from Irish side Ringmahon Rangers in November 2016.

As well as the Villa clash, O’Reilly was on the bench for five other games.

He spent a month on loan at Hyde United in March to get first-team experience.

O’Reilly, Baxter and Jack Armer are the three players from this season’s second year scholars who have been taken on as professionals.

They will join Alex Neil’s squad for pre-season training at the end of June.

It could be that they go out on loan for a run of first-team football.