Preston North End eager for ‘big four’ to sign new contracts to stay at Deepdale

Three down, several still to go – Preston remain optimistic that more members of their squad will commit their long-term futures to the club.

By Craig Salmon
Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 8:00 am

North End have announced this month that Paul Gallagher, Sean Maguire and Ryan Ledson have agreed new deals.

But work is still to be done to tie other established first-team players to longer deals, most notably Ben Pearson, Ben Davies, Daniel Johnson and Alan Browne.

The quartet – along with other players such as Darnell Fisher, Billy Bodin, Josh Harrop and Andrew Hughes – are entering into the final year of their existing contracts and the Lilywhites are eager to see them put pen to paper on fresh deals.

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Talks are ongoing with a number of players, including Ben Pearson (above)

“I am pleased with the progress that has been made with the three signing new deals,” said Peter Ridsdale, who is the advisor to owner Trevor Hemmings.

“But I have got a long list to work through and I will be pleased when that list is completed. I am working on a whole host of things including trying to get new contracts done. Yes, I am pleased with the start we have made to that but it’s only a start and I will be happy when we have completed it.

“Ideally, I would like to have done them by yesterday, but we can only do them one at a time and some are easier than others.”

Inevitably speculation has arisen in the media with players such as Pearson, Davies , Johnson and Browne no doubt admired and coveted by other clubs.

And as the end of the transfer window approaches on October 5, North End may have some big decisions to make if contract talks have not progressed.

Ridsdale revealed that he is in constant dialogue with all parties concerned and every player has indicated a desire to remain at Deepdale.

But do Preston enter into a situation where players could run their contracts down if talks stall or would they cash in?

Ridsdale revealed that the club’s hierarchy have not entertained that scenario yet – their sole focus is on getting the deals over the line.

“We haven’t got that far yet,” Risdale said. “We are currently at a situation where we have completed a number of deals.

“Nobody has said that they do not want to stay and therefore I am working on that assumption and I am trying to get them all agreed and sorted.”

Meanwhile, North End are in action later this afternoon when they take on Tranmere Rovers away in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

PNE defeated Salford City in their opening pre-season friendly 3-1 at Moor Lane on Saturday.