Preston North End aim to strengthen their defence in the coming days

After giving their forward line a boost with the signing of Izzy Brown, Preston North End will return their focus to the hunt for a new right-back.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 24th June 2021, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites have done deals for Liam Lindsay and Sepp van den Berg at the back, with an agreement nearing for Daniel Iverson’s return too.

They want a right-back to complete the defensive jigsaw and that seems to be the next stage of their recruitment.

Matthew Olosunde is one of the right-backs they have been tracking.

Matthew Olosunde has been linked with Preston North End (photo: Getty Images)

The American defender left Rotherham recently after turning down the offer of a new contract with the Millers.

He is available on a Bosman should North End choose to firm-up their interest.

Other right-backs have been looked at during PNE’s search – players both in and out of contract. Born in the USA, Olosunde holds dual nationality and does not need a work permit.

He started his career with New York Red Bulls and in 2016 signed for Manchester United.

Olosunde played Premier League 2 football for United before joining Rotherham.

The 23-year-old played 72 times for the Millers in two seasons.

Darnell Fisher was PNE’s first-choice right-back/wing back for three-and-a-half years before he was sold in January to Middlesbrough.

In the games either side of Fisher’s sale, Alan Browne played at right-back.

Joe Rafferty had a match there before Van den Berg came into the team.

The Liverpool loanee made the right-back role his own, before Frankie McAvoy switched the system to 3-5-2 which saw Van den Berg adapt to the wing-back position.

The talk from Deepdale since Van den Berg’s return points to the Dutch teenager preferring a centre-back role although he is obviously still an option slightly wider.

So it opens up a vacancy in the right-back slot.

If North End can fill that, all eyes will be on bringing in another striker.

It is a position which they are prepared to take slightly longer to address, with a touch of patience needed until the transfer market gets a bit more lively.

New boy Brown can play up front but is more at home just behind in the No.10 role or cutting inside from the wing.

McAvoy liked playing with a front two in the closing weeks of last season, that on the back of Alex Neil’s preference for one striker.

He used two strikers both in a diamond formation in his first game against Norwich and then in the 3-5-2 system.

Ched Evans started all of McAvoy’s games in interim charge, with Emil Riis, Sean Maguire, Tom Barkhuizen and Scott Sinclair taking turns alongside the Welshman.