Preston North End decisions to be made as we await retained list

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There are decisions still to be made at Preston North End as we await to hear who will be staying at Deepdale beyond the summer.

Many other sides in the division have announced their retained lists, those who will be kept on at the club and those who will be departing, but PNE are not one of them.

There is much to be said about the position Preston find themselves in. Of the six players out of contract, five of them have featured regularly in their time at the club and when it comes to the likes of Daniel Johnson and Greg Cunningham, they’re held in particularly high esteem by the fanbase who have watched them for years giving their best for the shirt and the badge.

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Ben Woodburn and Robbie Brady signed for the club last summer and both have featured heavily throughout the campaign. The former was most often seen coming off the bench but North End do also hold the option of an extra year built in to his current contract, so should they choose to pull the trigger on it, the 23-year-old could well be here until 2024.

Preston North End's Daniel Johnson celebrates Ched Evans’ goal at BlackburnPreston North End's Daniel Johnson celebrates Ched Evans’ goal at Blackburn
Preston North End's Daniel Johnson celebrates Ched Evans’ goal at Blackburn

Josh Onomah has impressed since working his way into the side, although his fitness has been a concern. Having had little game time at Fulham, Onomah needed time to get up to speed and showed glimpses of what he could be capable of, especially if he gets a full pre-season behind him. He seemed to lose his legs at time but once that issue is out of the way, North End could have a classy operator on their hands and he’s spoken in the past about being keen on staying.

Matthew Olosunde is the easiest decision of the six, having been transfer listed last summer there is no way that he will be kept on and he will go down as one of the worst deals the club have made over recent years. Barely a handful of appearances to show for his two seasons in PR1.

The outcome of Preston’s retained list will give an indication of what the club plans to do in the summer. Should they keep all five on from last season, they need to do less in the summer. If they opt to let some go, it gives them a bigger task over the next few months but also a bigger opportunity to reshape the squad. Would tying some down just for an extra year do them good when they want to build beyond 12 months?

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Of course, it is not just down to the club. Some players may not choose to stay. Johnson, for example, has been at the club for nine years and was out of the team at times this season, he may want a change of scenery as he comes towards the back end of his career, now 30.

Cunningham has also had to be patient at times and is a bit part role what he wants at 32? Time will tell.

PNE will still be waiting on decisions from players, with many talks only taking place at the start of the week, largely down to the way Ryan Lowe wants to approach contracts, but fans are already keen to see the lay of the land as the 2022/23 campaign sees the formalities in its ending completed.