Still a role for Josh Earl at Preston North End next season

Josh Earl will get the chance to re-establish himself in the Preston North End squad next season after three loan spells in the last two campaigns.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 21st May 2021, 9:38 am

The 22-year-old defender is recently back from Burton Albion where he spent the second half of last season.

It was a loan spell when he was limited to seven starts and one substitute appearance, a red card early in his stay having a big impact.

Although Earl only had to serve a one-game ban, he lost his place at left-back and did not get back in until later in the campaign once Albion were safe in League One.

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Defender Josh Earl

PNE head coach Frankie McAvoy sees a role for him at Deepdale.

McAvoy favoured a 3-5-2 formation last season, playing with wing-backs.

Earl would be competition for Greg Cunningham in the left wing-back position, allowing Andrew Hughes to play in the back three.

PNE academy graduate Earl spent all of the 2019/20 season out on loan, at Bolton and then Ipswich.

He stayed at Deepdale for the first half of this season, starting four Championship matches and twice in the cup competitions.

Earl’s last appearance for North End was in the 4-1 loss at Wycombe in the FA Cup when he was below par.

Three weeks later he went to Burton in the hope of getting a run of matches.

It is nearly four years since Earl made his first-team debut, that coming early in Alex Neil’s stewardship.

Last October he signed a contract extension, taking him through to June 2023.

Earl was one of six players contracted beyond this summer who were loaned out last season.

Jayden Stockley and Josh Harrop were also in League One with Charlton and Ipswich , while Ethan Walker was with League Two outfit Carlisle United.

Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter are currently playing in the League of Ireland, O’Reilly at Waterford and Baxter in the First Division with Cork.

Stockley’s loan was the most fruitful, the striker scoring eight goals in 20 starts for the Addicks.

What he did at The Valley caught the eye, with four clubs having expressed an interest in him since the season finished.

The four are all believed to be in League One and in the top half of the division.

Presumably one of them is Charlton, with Stockley having enjoyed his time there.

With 12 months to run on his contract, Stockley will be tempted to try his luck elsewhere after a rather frustrating time at PNE in terms of game time.

North End would get a fee for the 27-year-old should they decide to sell, creating room in the 25-man squad.

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