Preston North End’s Josh Earl is satisfied with progress made this season

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Josh Earl has perhaps taken greater strides forward than anyone in the Preston North End squad this season and wants to continue that progress in the next block of matches.

The 22-year-old has made the left wing-back role his own since the early weeks of the season, starting nine Championship games in a row.

In last Saturday’s defeat at Queens Park Rangers, Earl scored the first goal of his senior career – leaving him with a slightly hollow feeling considering the result.

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It was a box to tick for the PNE academy graduate, though, another step in the right direction.

Josh Earl celebrates scoring for Preston North End against QPRJosh Earl celebrates scoring for Preston North End against QPR
Josh Earl celebrates scoring for Preston North End against QPR

Earl said: “It’s good to be getting a run of games and I want to keep playing and learning.

“I said at the time that the goal at QPR was bittersweet because it didn’t count for anything in the end, we lost the game.

“Saying that, it was nice to see it go in, I was in the right place at the right time.

“I’m glad I got my first goal, it’s taken me a long time.”

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Earl spent the second half of last season on loan with Burton Albion.

That was a third loan in two years in League One, following spells with Bolton and Ipswich.

He returned to PNE in the summer determined to make an impact and catch the eye of head coach Frankie McAvoy.

It was during Earl’s time at Burton that McAvoy had succeeded Alex Neil – the manager who gave Earl his first-team debut.

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After playing for much of the pre-season in the centre of defence, Earl did not make the bench for the first two league games.

For the Carabao Cup tie at Mansfield in between, he was an unused substitute.

Earl got the nod to start at Huddersfield on August 17 and has stayed in the side since.

His focus is firmly on what is ahead of him.

Said Earl: “It’s important we don’t let the QPR defeat linger, that’s gone now.

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“The international break gives us a bit of a breather, a chance for some time on the training pitch and to get some rest.

“It’s been relentless in the last few weeks with the Saturday/Tuesday schedule.

“We’ve had a few away games, a couple of overnight stays, so it’s nice to have the break and spend some time with family and friends.

“We’ll be ready to go again, it’s another busy run of games when it starts. We know that we need to put more points on the board and we’ll be working to do that.

“There are some big games ahead, two at home to start with and then Blackpool.

“We’ve got Liverpool in the Carabao Cup which is good but we’ve got league points to play for first.”