Preston North End have EFL squad-size limits to consider when doing their summer transfer business

One of the challenges facing Preston North End as they put their squad together ahead of the new season is staying within the size limits imposed by the EFL.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:45 pm

Championship clubs can only register 25 players over the age of 21 in their squads.

Some balance to that is an unlimited number of players under the age of 21 can be registered.

However, loan players count towards the 25-man limit even if they are under 21.

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Preston North End midfielder Josh Harrop
Preston North End midfielder Josh Harrop

As things stand, North End have 23 players above the age of 21 in their squad following the sale of Jayden Stockley to Charlton.

That includes goalkeeper Connor Ripley who is likely to leave PNE this summer.

Taking him out of the squad reduces it to 22 but then you factor in the likely returns on loan of Sepp van den Berg and Daniel Iversen to take it back up to 24.

So that leaves one space, with the Lilywhites’ needs in the transfer window exceeding that.

One route to go down would be bringing in players under 21, otherwise there would need to be departures among the main age group.

Could Josh Harrop be a player who perhaps sees his future elsewhere?

He spent the second-half of last season at Ipswich on loan, a spell which wasn’t a roaring success to say the least.

Harrop started only three games for the Tractor Boys and came off the bench a dozen times.

Coming back to Deepdale he will find a congested midfield in terms of numbers.

Ben Whiteman, Alan Browne and Ryan Ledson were the first-choice midfield trio towards the end of last season.

Tom Bayliss got the nod over Whiteman for the final day win at Nottingham Forest.

Then there’s Brad Potts and Daniel Johnson to factor in, Johnson having missed the last seven games of the campaign with a calf muscle injury.

Adam O’Reilly is expected to come back from a loan spell with Waterford to show what he can do in pre-season.

Aged 20, he would not add to the squad numbers, nor would Jack Baxter if he comes back from Cork City.

So they are two further midfielders in the mix, both reaching a stage where they need to push for first-team football.

These are early days of the transfer window, with it closing on August 31. So there is the potential for plenty to happen.

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