Where are they now? The Preston North End heroes of the 2015 play-off final

Paul Huntington scores for Preston North End against Swindon at WembleyPaul Huntington scores for Preston North End against Swindon at Wembley
Paul Huntington scores for Preston North End against Swindon at Wembley | Camera Sport
PNE beat Swindon Town 4-0 in the 2015 League One play off-final

It was recently nine years since Preston North End returned to the Championship, after thrashing Swindon Town 4-0 in the League One play-off final. After seeing off Chesterfield, over two legs, the Lilywhites swept aside Mark Cooper’s men in the capital.

Preston have certainly established themselves in the second tier, ever since - with the lowest place finish 14th and highest 7th. That day at Wembley - as Jermaine Beckford scored a hat-trick - will always be remembered.

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But, what are those who played that day up to now? We take a look, here...

Sam Johnstone

The shot-stopper joined Crystal Palace in the summer of 2022 and played 23 games in the Premier League, lasts season. Now 31, Johnstone is set to miss the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament with an elbow injury.

Tom Clarke

North End’s skipper on the day announced his retirement last September. Since then, he has undertaken some coaching with PNE’s age groups. The plan was to ‘fast track’ him through.

Bailey Wright

The Australia international left Sunderland last summer and signed for Singapore Premier League side, Lion City Sailors. He scored three goals in his 10 appearances for them.

Paul Huntington

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Was let go by Carlisle United this summer, after two years with his hometown club. The 36-year-old wants to continue playing, but is well under way with his coaching badges too.

Calum Woods

The ex-PNE and Huddersfield Town man has also ventured into coaching. He’s the lead youth development phase coach at Crewe Alexandra.

John Welsh

Working in North End’s academy as a Professional Development Coach. He returned to Deepdale to start his coaching journey in October 2021.

Neil Kilkenny

Still going, at 38-years-of-age! The Aussie returned to his home country in 2016 and signed for semi-pro outfit, Sorrento FC, in October 2023.

Paul Gallagher

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The PNE legend left Ryan Lowe’s coaching staff last summer, to join Alex Neil at Stoke City. He was kept on after the Scot’s dismissal in December though and is now working alongside Steven Schumacher, at the bet365 Stadium.

Daniel Johnson

Also in the Potteries, though had an up and down first season with the club. Johnson didn’t appear in Stoke’s final 15 games. In January, it was claimed that the Potters were open to offers.

Joe Garner

After 18 months at Carlisle United, the striker made the move to Oldham Athletic and penned a 1.5 year contract. He scored four goals for the National League side, last season.

Jermaine Beckford

Often on the TV, as a pundit or commentator up and down the country. Also has his own business: Supernova Living.

Alan Browne

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We’re still yet to learn if the skipper will be leaving the club this summer, upon the expiry of his contract. It would appear extremely likely, but there has been no confirmation whether his 10 year stay is indeed ending.

Kevin Davies

The former PNE and Bolton Wanderers striker runs his own agency, called KCD Management.

Scott Laird

Was still playing last season, spending time at Barnstaple Town FC and Gloucester City AFC. Also the Lead of Senior Football and first team coach at Millfield School.

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