Decision time over players North End loaned out
One job in Preston's in-tray over the summer will sorting out the futures of five players who they loaned out during the season just finished.
Marnick Vermijl, Kevin O’Connor, Eoin Doyle, Andy Boyle and Ben Pringle spent parts of the season away from Deepdale in League One.
Vermijl’s time on loan at Scunthorpe United has gone into extra time by reason of them reaching the play-offs.
The Belgian was an unused sub in Saturday’s 2-2 first-leg draw with Rotherham.
He will stay with The Iron for as long as they remain in the play-off hunt.
The other four loanees are back on Preston’s books, for the time being at least.
O’Connor was loaned out to Fleetwood in January, Boyle went to Doncaster around the same time, Pringle joining Doyle at Oldham.
It would be fair to say that none of them are in the plans of Alex Neil long term.
While you never say never, game-time was limited for all them – nonexistent for Doyle and Pringle – under Neil.
Doyle went to Oldham last August and scored 14 goals up until December.
But he was then laid low by a blood clot which was to keep him out of action until March.
Oldham took a gamble and renewed Doyle’s loan in the January window, knowing it could be a few weeks until they got him back on the pitch.
The Irishman scored twice in that second spell, including an 85th-minute winner against Blackpool.
But his goals could not keep Oldham in League One, and they were relegated on the final day of the season.
Pringle played 15 games for the Latics after joining them in January. He has not kicked a ball for Preston competitively since December 2016.
O’Connor, who made the move to Fleetwood a couple of weeks after scooping 1million euro on the Irish lottery.
He has not exactly hit the jackpot on the Wyre coast, playing only five games for the Cod Army.
The last of those came in February against Doncaster when fellow Irishman Boyle was on the other side.
Boyle played six times for Donny, scoring once, and was back training with North End in the final week of the season.
Summer exits seem likely for them all.