Preston North End owner’s advisor Peter Ridsdale in pledge to fans over club’s star players

Alex Neil with Peter Ridsdale (right)
Alex Neil with Peter Ridsdale (right)

Preston North End will not be forced to sell any players that manager Alex Neil wants to keep.

Advisor to the owner Peter Ridsdale was speaking on Monday at the first fans’ forum of the season and was very forthright in his answer.

The question posed was along the lines of: would key players like Ben Davies, Ben Pearson and Alan Browne, who all have just 18 months on their contracts remaining, be sold in January?

This would not be a case of the club looking for money, but more a case of their hands being tied.

We have seen in the past with Callum Robinson, Jordan Hugill and Greg Cunningham that North End have sold important players with contract length in mind.

Ridsdale explained that the club reviews contract situations every week and in the main, are happy with how they have been handled over the last two or three years.

Robinson, Hugill and Cunningham brought in around £20m combined.

Unsurprisingly, those with 18 months left are players that the club would want to keep and Ridsdale said that he has been assured by owner Trevor Hemmings that PNE are, ‘Under no pressure whatsoever to sell’.

The hope from the club is that those players see something in PNE, and see the opportunity they have to make the step up into the Premier League whilst at Deepdale.

Ridsdale also explained that North End will continue to look at bringing players in to strengthen the squad.

Of the 26 players that the advisor to the owner considered to be first-team players, 18 were brought in under the stewardship of Alex Neil.

Three of those were pre-agreed – Declan Rudd, Josh Harrop and Sean Maguire – but the rest have been brought in since Neil took over.

Preston actively search for players – that isn’t something that ever stops – and if someone comes up or catches the eye of head of recruitment Joe Savage, the club will do their best to sign them.

It would then be a case of Ridsdale and Neil going to take a look at the player to make sure he would fit in with what they want.

Ridsdale added that the owner wants the club run right, and told fans not to expect North End to change the approach that has served them so well so far.