Preston North End set to hold talks with trio over new deals
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Andrew Hughes, Patrick Bauer and Tom Barkhuizen are in the last nine months of their current deals.
Last week, Jordan Storey and Brad Potts agreed contract extensions – Storey signing a three-year deal and midfielder Potts two.
Like Hughes, Bauer and Barkhuizen, they had gone into the final year of their previous deals.
North End will hold talks with the representatives of the trio in the coming weeks.
It is understood Bauer’s German-based agent is due to fly over in mid-October.
Hughes, Bauer and Barkhuizen have been core members of the PNE squad.
Barkhuizen has been laid low by Covid for much of this season but the winger has been a first-team regular since signing from Morecambe in January 2017.
Bauer, 28, has been back in the defence for the last few weeks, proving his fitness after a seven-month lay-off with a ruptured Achilles tendon last season.
He has joined Hughes in the back three, the Welshman having been a mainstay under Frankie McAvoy.
Until last season, Hughes had, in the main, played as a left-back in the PNE side.
McAvoy’s switch to a 3-5-2 saw Hughes slot in on the left side of the defensive three and he has been so solid there.
The North End head coach has been pleased with how Hughes has operated in that position.
Said McAvoy: “Hughesy has been one of our outstanding performers.
“He was excellent I thought at Birmingham on Saturday despite taking a bad injury to his toe.
“He played through and has been magnificent.
“Hughesy is a stalwart, a great boy to have around the place too.
“He and Jordan Storey have played a lot of matches which is great to see.
“Those two either side of Patrick, Liam Lindsay or Paul Huntington, is a good balance for me.
“They have shown they are formidable, both have got pace either side, they cover the channels very well.
“That allows the wing-backs to get higher up the pitch knowing it is defensively sound behind them.
“Hughesy is decent in the air, he showed last week against Cheltenham that he is a threat in the box.
“I’m just delighted he is part of our squad.”
North End have a number of other players who as things stand will be out of contract next summer.
They include Scott Sinclair, Joe Rafferty, Connor Ripley and Paul Huntington.