Preston North End Summer Squad Rundown: The Midfielders


Over the summer, there will be a multitude of Preston players that are out of contract, leaving the club after the end of their loan deals and that will be offered to other clubs in a bid to offload them.

It really will be a summer refresh for new boss Ryan Lowe and he’ll have a big task on his hands but it could be a challenge that he will revel in, as he can bring in exactly the kind of players he wants and mould the squad to his liking.

PNE will want to try and kick on and look towards promotion this season, having fell to midtable at the back end of this campaign despite looking much brighter under their new manager. But who looks likely to leave? Who should stay at all costs?

Here then, is a full rundown of each position in the squad (youngsters included) and whether they should stay or go (or leave on loan too). Next up? The midfielders:

Brad Potts

One of the more surprising revelations of the season has been the emergence of Brad Potts as a valuable RWB option. He’s been excellent bombing up and down the right flank and is the first choice option in that position now (until Lowe adds some more bodies). Even if the new boss does sign some more right wing-backs, he’ll still have a part to play next season.

Ben Whiteman

Has flourished under Lowe and is really important to the way the former Plymouth boss wants us to play. Is one of the first names on the teamsheet now and will be pivotal going forward. There might be some interest but I’d be batting it off if I was Preston.

Ryan Ledson

Ledson is another option that is still useful and valuable in the midfield. Hasn’t been as key as he was last year but is still reliable and a hard-worker in the middle of the field. Is exactly the type of player that Ryan Lowe likes and will prove to be a useful midfield rotation option going forward. He’ll definitely be kept.

Tom Bayliss

We have a lot of midfield options but I like Bayliss and feel he could play a part under Ryan Lowe. Whether he is let go of might come down to what the PNE boss thinks of him in training upon his return from a loan at Wigan but it might be worth giving him a go in our own first-team this season if we can and seeing how he fares. If it doesn’t look like there will be any room for him though, better to cut our losses and send him out on a short-term deal at least again.

Ali McCann

Has been electric since joining (and when he can get on the field!) The former St Johnstone man always seems to give his all and has been utilised in defensive and midfield roles under Ryan Lowe. Even though he hasn’t been used too often by the new boss, he is young and exciting and certainly should have a North End future. Keep at all costs.

Alan Browne

Browney is the club captain and is another with up and down form. His versatility makes him important though and whilst he perhaps does not possess the same ability to contribute offensively as he once did and isn’t at the same peak, he is still well capable of being an excellent midfield (or right-back) option. Hold onto the Republic of Ireland man if we can – but if a bid did come in, you’d have to consider it.

Lewis Leigh

Looks a real talent and has previously been tracked by some of the biggest teams in the top tier. Will be one for the future and unlike in previous years, Ryan Lowe will hopefully value this up and coming talent and keep him on at the club with the intention of playing him in the near future.

Jack Baxter

He’s not as young as he once was and still doesn’t look like he’ll be used around the first-team. If that is the case, then the best thing to do here would be to either tie him to a short contract and let him test himself higher up the pyramid to see if it would be worth putting him near the matchday squad in the future or letting him go entirely with his contract up in summer.

Josh Harrop

Ryan Lowe might quite like the former Man United man and did give him a chance before he was sent out on loan. Ended up injured and we don’t really want to hold onto a player who might spend more time on the injury table than the field. If he’s not going to be able to contribute and get in the team even when fit, it might be worth moving him on. It’s a real shame as there is talent there and there have been flashes of brilliance, it just hasn’t worked out and with the size of our squad already, it might be time to cash in.

Daniel Johnson

Still a very good option and a first-team regular. One of the only players in the squad right now who can split open a defence with his passing and make the runs and get into the space that Ryan Lowe wants him to. For that reason – and for his ability to fit into the system – we need to keep him.

Izzy Brown

There is a real quandary over Brown – we’ve never had chance to really see him in action and based on his past with Chelsea and other EFL sides, you’d have to think like Harrop there is talent in there somewhere. But is it worth gambling again on a player who has just spent the entire campaign on the sidelines? Perhaps if it came on a pay as you play deal then yes but with room in the squad tight and his deal up in summer, it might be better to let him try his luck elsewhere.

Adam O’Reilly

I’ve liked what I’ve seen of O’Reilly in the past and whilst he is no longer one of the younger members of the squad, he still hasn’t really played a part in the first-team. I’d like to see more of him around the actual playing team next season and with his deal not yet up, it would be good to keep him and let him test himself a bit higher up elsewhere in the EFL.

Noah Mawene

He looked good in pre-season and is still only young too. He deserves a chance at North End at some point in the future if he is good enough so for now and again, if he isn’t going to be near the first-team then the best port of call? Loan move like with the other youngsters.

Jamie Thomas

It would have been a real dream move to see him taking the field at Deepdale regularly after the pre-season he had and after signing a short-term deal but it just doesn’t look likely he ever will now. We need room in the squad and there is no guarantee he’ll be up to the task, having been sent out on loan this year and not included in the 25-man squad. Will likely leave in the summer.

Keep at the club: Brad Potts, Ben Whiteman, Ryan Ledson, Ali McCann, Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson

Keep – but would be tempted to let go if a bid comes in: Tom Bayliss

Loan: Tom Bayliss, Lewis Leigh, Adam O’Reilly, Noah Mawene

Likely to leave the club: Jack Baxter, Josh Harrop, Izzy Brown, Jamie Thomas

Is midfield an area that needs strengthening in the summer?: Honestly, it might be the only position at the club that doesn’t need touching right now. We have so many solid options in the central roles and further forward, any one of CMs could really play in the attacking midfield role too. We are blessed with a wealth of talent their now and if a very good player became available in CAM, then we’d obviously have to consider it. However, we really don’t need to strengthen it as a matter of urgency as we do with wing-backs for example. Our best position in terms of depth and the strength that we have there.

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