Preston North End ready to talk contract terms with defender as the summer rebuild at Deepdale starts

Preston North End are aiming for Bambo Diaby to fill one of the squad vacancies created by their summer clear-out.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 8:00 am

Diaby was the only senior out-of-contract player offered a new deal, with the retained list published yesterday seeing 13 players released.

Three of the players currently retained – Josh Harrop, Tom Bayliss and Matthew Olosunde – have been transfer-listed, the trio all having a year left to run on their contracts.

As things stand PNE have 20 first-team players in their squad and seven youngsters with professional deals. The latest to join the pro ranks is Dana Amaral after completing his two-year scholarship.

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Preston North End defender Bambo Diaby holds off a challenge from Middlesbrough; Duncan Watmore

The 20 include the three transfer-listed players, Adam O’Reilly who is on loan at League of Ireland side St Patrick’s Athletic until July, and Lewis Coulton who North End triggered a contract extension on.

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So there is plenty of scope to do incoming business and talks will take place with Diaby’s agent tomorrow over a new contract.

The defender has made four starts and three substitute appearances since signing a short-term deal in January following a spell on trial as he approached the end of a two-year anti-doping ban.

PNE manager Ryan Lowe told the Lancashire Post: “Bambo’s day-by-day attitude has been spot on, which for me is a big thing.

"He’s had some good performances, he’s had some rocky performances, we have to get him to be the best he can be.

"With the contract offer he has got the opportunity to do that and he is going to be fighting it out with the other centre-backs and maybe one or two more if they come in.”

Tom Barkhuizen was the big name on the list of those leaving. He’s played more than 200 games for North End but had a torrid time with injuries and the after-effects of Covid this season.

He was in talks over a new deal earlier in the season but an agreement couldn’t be reached. The winger hasn’t played since January’s 1-0 defeat at Swansea when he suffered an ankle injury.

The other players released were Connor Ripley, Ethan Walker, Izzy Brown, Jack Baxter, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson, Jamie Thomas, Joe Rafferty, Joe Rodwell-Grant, Mathew Hudson, Oliver Lombard, Paul Huntington and Scott Sinclair.

North End now don’t have a senior goalkeeper on the books, with Ripley and Hudson released. Daniel Iversen has returned to parent club Leicester and Declan Rudd retired because of a knee injury last month.

Walker leaves his home-town club having become the youngest player to turn out for PNE in a league game, aged 16 years and 156 days. That was against Aston Villa in December 2018.

He only featured once more in the first-team after that, in a Carabao Cup victory at Bradford in August 2019.

Rodwell-Grant, Holland-Wilkinson and Lombard leave at the end of their first year as professionals, Rodwell-Grant having played twice for the first-team as a sub earlier in the season.