Strong local flavour to Preston North End's new group of scholars

Preston North End’s next group of scholars contains a strong local flavour and a nod to the past.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:30 pm

The Lilywhites have taken on 10 youngsters on two-year scholarship deals.

Two of them, Josh Seary and Noah Mawene, have already agreed professional contracts which will come into play when they turn 17.

The name of Mawene will be a familiar one to the North End faithful.

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Noah Mawene and Josh Seary have joined Preston North End as scholars Picture courtesy of PNE

Noah’s dad Youl Mawene played 198 games for PNE in a six-year stay at Deepdale.

Mawene Jnr plays higher up the pitch in midfield and scored double figures of goals for the youth team last season.

Seary is a right-back who hails from Merseyside and is in the Republic of Ireland youth set-up.

There was strong interest in him from Premier League clubs but North End held off that competition.

While Seary and Mawene have got pro deals already, North End have just as high hopes for the other eight scholars.

Kian Best, Finlay Wallbank, Finlay Cross-Adair and Kian Taylor are all Preston lads who have been in the academy for a number of years.

Best, who went to Corpus Christi, is a left-footed defender, while former Ashton High pupil Wallbank also plays at the back and is described by PNE’s head of coaching Matt Craddock as ‘one of the quickest players in the team’.

Cross-Adair, who attended Hutton Grammar, is a No.9 with the versatility to play in wide areas, and Taylor – described as a ‘massive PNE fan’ by Craddock – and who went to Fulwood Academy, plays in midfield.

Like Seary, left-back Jacob Slater has been involved in the Republic of Ireland set-up.

From Merseyside, he has been with Preston’s academy since the age of 12.

Another player to have been with the academy long term is midfielder Kitt Nelson. Goalkeeper James Pradic and striker Rio Pemberton were more recent arrivals in the youth set-up.

Pradic, who was on the books of Charlton, caught PNE’s eye in Under-16s trials at the end of last season. He has been involved in the Wales set-up too.

Pemberton joined as an Under-16s player following a successful trial.

He had been in Blackburn’s academy and came to PNE on trial after not getting a scholarship with Rovers.

North End’s youth team train at Springfields and the newcomers will come together with the group of players who are now moving into the second-year of their scholarships.

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