Preston North End's new recruit looks to build on the experience of facing Chelsea and Manchester United

Cameron Archer has taken several steps forward in his career this season and hopes coming on loan to Preston North End can help him progress further.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 12:37 pm

The 20-year-old striker has moved to Deepdale from Aston Villa for the remainder of the campaign and will be in PNE’s squad for the clash with West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night (8pm).

It is raw talent North End have brought in, but having said that, Archer has had experience at the top level.

His Premier League debut came against Manchester United at Old Trafford. He entered the fray in the 86th minute with the score 0-0.

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Villa won 1-0, surviving a late penalty miss by United to take the three points.

Three days before, Archer started Villa’s Carabao Cup tie with Chelsea and scored at Stamford Bridge.

A hat-trick from him in the previous round against Barrow had helped fire Villa to a 6-0 win.

So while PNE are getting a player with some rough edges – as you do with anyone that age – there is talent in abundance in his boots.

PNE's new loan signing Cameron Archer in action for Aston Villa against Chelsea

Reflecting on the last few months in the Villa squad, Archer said: “The Barrow game was a big night, my first professional start. To top it off with the hat-trick was exciting.

“Playing Manchester United was a great experience, it’s an iconic stadium.

“I came on when it was 0-0 and we ended up scoring to win the game.

“Now I’m at the stage of my career where I needed to come out on loan.

“I’m excited to come to Preston and I’m looking to develop here.

“I’m hoping to earn my place and play regularly, if I do that I’m sure the goals will come.”

North End were not the only club interested in doing a loan deal for Archer.

A number of sides in the Championship and League One had been tracking him as they waited for Villa to give the green light that he would be loaned out.

The fact Ryan Lowe is pals with Steven Gerrard didn’t do PNE any harm in their pursuit.

But plenty of other factors came into play and swayed things in North End’s favour.

Archer said: “I found out about Preston’s interest before I’d got the green light to go on loan.

“There had been interest for quite a while. That was something which helped bring me here because they had shown so much interest.

“They were eager to bring me in and that showed me I must have been doing something right.”

PNE boss Lowe wasn’t an unfamiliar name to Archer before this loan unfolded.

Lowe signed Archer’s big brother Jordan when he was Bury manager.

Said Archer: “We are both strikers and he is now scoring goals for Southport.”

It is goals which North End want from the younger Archer sibling as they look to climb from their current mid-table placing.

They have scored 29 league goals heading into the Baggies clash at The Hawthorns. It is a middle of the road-type tally, two sides above them in the Championship have scored less, seven below likewise.

With Lowe encouraging an attacking style of play, he wants goals to finish off the approach play.

Emil Riis is PNE’s leading scorer with nine goals in the league and four in Carabao Cup action.

Ben Whiteman has four in the Championship and Daniel Johnson three, both midfielders.

Of the other strikers, Ched Evans has two goals to his name after missing much of the first half of the season through injury, Sean Maguire has netted once and Scott Sinclair is yet to get off the mark in the league.

Hence a striker being a priority in this transfer window.

Lowe and Archer met via Zoom in the build-up to the loan deal being done, a modern twist to the traditional talks between manager and player.

Archer says there is nothing complicated about what Lowe wants from him.

“It was a pretty simple chat which we had,” said Archer.

“All he wants from me is goals and hopefully I can bring those.

“I just love scoring goals, I can’t get enough of that feeling. When I play football I want to put the ball in the back of the net.

“I think the style of play will suit me, the manager likes to play with two strikers so I will be able to feed off the other striker.

“Having watched a lot of Championship games, there does seem to be a lot of space to run into which is how I like to play.

“This is an exciting time for me.

“At Aston Villa, the gaffer just told me to go and enjoy the loan, smash it.

“Hopefully I can do that and help Preston do well.

“My first game could be at West Bromwich, which for is a local derby for where I’m from."