Trialist Connor Wickham will turn out for Preston North End reserves next week

Preston North End will give Connor Wickham the chance to impress in match action when the reserves make their return to the Central League next week.

Saturday, 4th September 2021, 8:00 am

The 28-year-old striker has trained with the Lilywhites for the past fortnight in a bid to earn a contract.

Wickham is said to have impressed in the sessions at Euxton and PNE now want to see him in match action to further gauge his progress.

That opportunity will come on Tuesday afternoon when North End face Walsall in the Central League.

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Connor Wickham has been training with Preston North End for the last fortnight

It’s being played at Euxton and supporters are allowed in to watch – admission is free but there will be a bucket collection for donations to the PNE Community and Education Trust.

Wickham is the hunt for a new club after being released by Crystal Palace at the end of his contract in the summer.

As a free agent, he can sign for a new club beyond the close of the transfer window.

It is understood that North End have left a space free in their 25-man squad which they have to register with the EFL, in the event of Wickham’s trial ultimately being a successful one.

Wickham’s ability and what he could offer to the team is not in doubt. What PNE want to be sure about is that his fitness is up to stratch.

He last played a first-team game in July 2020 while on loan at Sheffield Wednesday from Palace.

Last season Wickham was in Palace’s matchday squad a few times but didn’t make an appearance.

Wickham started his career with Ipswich, in 2011 becoming the youngest player to appear in their first team at the age of 16 years and 11 days.

He has twice had big-money transfers, Ipswich selling him to Sunderland for £8m. The fee which took him to Palace from Sunderland was in the region of £7m.

A knee injury suffered at Palace in November 2016 kept him out of first-team action for the best part of two years.

North End have resurrected their reserves after a nine-year absence from the Central League.

Tuesday’s game kicks off at 2pm, with entry for fans being through the gate just before the main barrier at Euxton.

Team sheets will be provided but there will not be refreshements or toilets available to supporters.

Spectators are requested to take a lateral flow test but this is not mandatory.

First-team coaches Paul Gallagher and Steve Thompson will oversee the reserves this season.

With the first game being during the international break, it is likely to be quite a strong side which features in a bid to keep match fitness levels topped-up ahead of the return to action.