Preston North End midfielders ready for pre-season after finishing loan spells in Ireland
Preston North End midfield pair Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter are heading back to Euxton to start pre-season training after loan spells in the League of Ireland.
The young duo played the final games of their loans on Friday night and will report in with the rest of the Lilywhites squad for training on Thursday.
O’Reilly has been with Waterford FC in the League of Ireland Premier Division, while Baxter was at Cork City in the First Division.
Both have got plenty of game time under their belt which the loans were designed to achieve.
It was in February that they headed over the water in a bid for first-team football.
O’Reilly has been getting rave reviews with Waterford and signed-off with a strong display in their 1-1 draw with league leaders St Patrick’s.
His time on loan has been eventful, Waterford having had a change of manager and there was a spell when the whole first-team squad had to isolate because of Covid.
O’Reilly, 20, started 16 matches and completed the 90 minutes 14 times.
Waterford manager Marc Bircham described O’Reilly as being ‘brilliant for us’ as he bid farewell to the midfielder.
O’Reilly sent his thanks to Waterford’s players and fans via a post on Twitter.
He said: “I know we had a bumpy start but I always felt things would change for the good. The lads are an unbelievable bunch.
“I’ve not seen players work as hard as them and drive each other on as much as them.
“The lads are in great hands with the new gaffer.”
Baxter, 20, played 10 times for Cork and scored twice.
Like O’Reilly, his last game for Cork came against top of the table opposition on Friday in the shape of Shelbourne. That ended in a 2-1 defeat for the Leesiders.
Both came through PNE’s academy, Chorley-born Baxter from a young age.
O’Reilly was signed from Ringmahon Rangers as a scholar, with a professional deal attached.
He made his first-team debut aged 17 against Aston Villa in December 2018 and has been on the bench several times.
Baxter is yet to make his PNE bow but has been an unused substitute.
They will now get the chance to catch the eye of Lilywhites head coach Frankie McAvoy over the next few weeks and force their way into his plans.
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