Right-back to the future for Preston North End skipper Alan Browne
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Darnell Fisher was sold to Middlesbrough before the deadline, bringing to an end a three-and-a-half year stay at Deepdale.
Browne had started the victory against Birmingham and the goalless draw with Reading ahead of Fisher who was an unused sub in both those matches.
When Fisher joined Boro last Friday, Browne continued at right-back in the defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.
North End did not seek to replace Fisher straight away, that a job for the summer.
Alex Neil is content to play Browne there and have Joe Rafferty as back-up.
Browne was included in the Championship’s team of the month for January, listed at right-back.
Places are based on marks given by football stats website www.Whoscored.com.
Browne’s preference will always be to play in midfield but Lilywhites boss Neil believes he has all the attributes to play at the back.
It is not a particularly new role for him, the Irishman playing there in the first restart game at Luton Town last season.
He has operated there or as a wing-back a few times this season, scoring twice in the win at Huddersfield from the wing-back role.
Against Derby on Boxing Day, Browne had moved to right-back later in the game and came up with the winning goal in stoppage-time.
North End’s backline has gone through a lot of change of late.
With Ben Davies sold to Liverpool and Patrick Bauer out injured for the rest of the season, PNE have brought in Liam Lindsay and Sepp van den Berg on loan to add to the numbers at the back.
Last week, they signed Greg Cunningham on loan from Cardiff to compete with Andrew Hughes for the left-back slot.
Fisher’s sale to Boro came somewhat out of the blue but the fact he had not been offered a new contract had placed a question mark against his Preston future.
Neil Warnock was pleased to take him to Teesside and delighted with his debut in a 0-0 draw at Norwich 24 hours after completing his move.
Boro manager Warnock said: “I don’t think Preston play like us. He came in at short notice and did exactly what I wanted.”
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