Preston North End's January transfer window outgoings explained and analysed

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Preston North End have ended their January transfer window activity making three signings whilst letting three more go.

Tom Cannon was the first signing Ryan Lowe made, joining the club on loan from Everton. Liam Delap was next up just a few days later, also joining on loan but this time from Manchester City, with a deadline day acquisition of Josh Onomah rounding off the Lilywhites’ dealings.

The latter in particular was brought in with a little help by some outgoings to free up some space in the budget.

But who left Deepdale, and why?

Preston North End's Sean Maguire competing with Bristol City's Alex ScottPreston North End's Sean Maguire competing with Bristol City's Alex Scott
Preston North End's Sean Maguire competing with Bristol City's Alex Scott


Mikey O’Neill

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The first player that North End allowed to leave the club was Mikey O’Neill, who joined Grimsby Town on loan on January 14. It was a move that was expected, although it was announced shortly before PNE’s Championship game against Norwich City. Despite the move being confirmed so close to 3pm on a Saturday, he went straight into the Grimsby starting XI that day.

O’Neill started the week before for PNE, his first senior start, in a 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup but that game saw him cup tied for the Mariners last game, meaning he’s not yet had another chance to add to his solitary appearance for the League Two side so far.

Preston North End's Mikey O'NeillPreston North End's Mikey O'Neill
Preston North End's Mikey O'Neill

Prior to his FA Cup start, the 18-year-old had made four appearances off the bench for the Lilywhites this season. He now has an opportunity to prove that he is up to the task of being a starting striker at the EFL, a test he will have to pass before doing so at PNE.

Sean Maguire

The biggest name and the most senior of PNE’s outgoing players this month, Sean Maguire ended a five-and-a-half affiliation with North End when he joined Coventry City on a free transfer on January 26.

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Maguire made 170 appearances for North End, scoring 24 times, but has most recently struggled with injury. He scored twice in 31 games last season and had played 11 times this campaign without finding the net and his deal was set to run out in the summer.

The move gives the Irishman a chance to kickstart his career again, having struggled for regular gametime at PNE over the last few season, whether it be because he was not selected or out injured.

As a senior player, Maguire’s salary being off the books helped North End widen their options in the closing days of the transfer window, with the 28-year-old receivng little pay off to go to the Sky Blues.

Adam O’Reilly

Adam O’Reilly’s departure has been quite a drawn out one. He has been impressing away from the club but never really given too much of a chance to prove himself before it all got a bit too late in the eyes of North End.

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Ryan Lowe said early into his time in charge of the club that those players that had made their debuts a while ago and hadn’t cemented a place, were likely never going to at this stage – and so, in the end, it proved for O’Reilly.

The 22-year-old has signed permanently with Derry City in the League of Ireland where he impressed last season whilst with St Partick’s Athletic. There is still plenty of time for O’Reilly to forge a very successful career away from Deepdale and there certainly have been promising signs.