Preston North End are not afraid to be cut-throat in the transfer market

Preston North End are showing the cut-throat side of football this week, as they have terminated two contracts for young players not currently making the grade.

It shows the intent from Ryan Lowe to improve the squad, and shows that there is no sentimentality in football.

It is certainly not a criticism of Liverpudlian Lowe, who has had a remarkable impact on the whole club since his appointment in December 2021. Instead it shows the level of his ambition.

Tom Bayliss and Josh Earl both saw their contracts torn up as they were able to secure moves to League One, to Shrewsbury Town and Fleetwood Town respectively.

Ben Woodburn in pre-season action for Liverpool last season against Osasuna.

Bayliss has never really been involved since joining North End three seasons ago and was on loan at Wigan Athletic last season, where he couldn’t break into their first team.

Earl was in and out of the side but Lowe seemed to lose patience with the academy graduate towards the end of the campaign.

Wing-back was an area that needed improving for PNE, on both sides, and bodies would have to be moved on in order to make room for more coming in, but Earl is still only 23 and has years and improvement ahead of him.

That is not enough for Lowe – he needs and wants quality now to challenge for promotion this season.

Preston North End's Josh Earl under pressure from Bournemouth's Adam Smith.

It also shows a willingness to do different types of business – North End did not hang around waiting for fees to come in, instead they sorted it themselves and freed themselves up regardless of others.

Lowe has also shown he’s open to looking at trialists as Ben Woodburn has been training with the club.

Speaking to the club’s website about the 22-year-old, he said: “Obviously his contract’s now ended at Liverpool.

"He was up with Hearts in Scotland last season and he’s a fantastic talent.

“We’re hoping we can get a tune out of him.

"He's going to be with us for a few weeks and it’s over to Ben now to showcase what he’s reallyabout.

"Because with the likes of Ben – who has probably had a little bit of a dip in form of late – we’re coaches and managers that want to try and bring the best back out of young lads like him.”