Forgotten former Preston North End pair clinch promotion to League One

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Two former Preston North End players will play in the Sky Bet League One next season following promotion.

Two former Preston North End players have a reason to celebrate as they won promotion to the Sky Bet League One at the weekend.

Stockport County needed just a draw to seal a return to the third tier of English football for the first time in 14-years. They defeated Morecambe 2-0 at Edgeley Park thanks to goals from Isaac Olaofe and Fraser Horsfall.

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Two members of the Hatters promotion-winning squad began their career at Deepdale. Goalkeeper Ben Hinchcliffe who was born in Preston, along with Lancaster-born midfielder Ryan Croasdale.

Hinchcliffe at the age of 36 has shown no signs of stopping and has played in all 43 games for Stockport this season. He has kept an impressive 17 clean sheets, but that wasn't enough for him to earn a place in the official Team of the Season at the EFL Awards which were held in London on Sunday, April 14.

He started at Preston in April 2006 after being given a one-year professional contract but never played a competitive game for the Lilywhites. His career was spent mainly in the non-league with the likes of Oxford United, Bamber Bridge, Northwich Victoria and AFC Fylde. He has been at Stockport County since 2016 and has now won three promotions with them.

Croasdale is another that started at North End, joining them in 2013. He went one further than Hinchcliffe by playing for the first-team, making his debut in the EFL Trophy in 2003, though that would turn out to be his only competitive appearance for the club.

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He spent 10-years of his career at Preston after joining their academy but despite loans at Tamworth and Stalybridge Celtic in 2013 and 2014, he was released. Croasdale joined Sheffield Wednesday but struggled to make an impact, and so he dipped his toes in to the non-league.

He played for Kidderminster Harriers and AFC Fylde before joining Stockport in 2020. Croasdale has represented the semi-professional England C squad six times and is celebrating his second promotion with Stockport. As for his role in their promotion, he has played 34 times this term, scoring two goals.

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