Preston North End may have only made one senior signing during the January transfer window, but it is was certainly a big one, with Scott Sinclair swapping Celtic for Deepdale to join up with Alex Neil’s side.
The 31-year-old attacking midfielder, who had fallen down the pecking order at Celtic in the first half of this season, completed his move to Preston early in the window, putting pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal that will keep him at Deepdale until the end of the 2021/22 season.
Having won three straight domestic trebles with Celtic in the past three seasons, while also winning promotion from the Championship with Swansea earlier in his career, there were many in and around his new club who were tipping Sinclair to have a significant impact at Preston during his time in Lancashire.
So has the attacker lived up to those expectations since his move back at the start of the year?
Here, we put the spotlight on Sinclair’s performances since he joined Preston back in January, in order to find out.
Having featured in all 11 games Preston have played since his arrival at Deepdale, Sinclair has certainly had plenty of opportunities to make his mark for North End, although worryingly for both player and club, he doesn’t seem to have taken those just yet.
With just one goal in those 11 appearances so far – admittedly a well taken one in a 1-1 draw with former club Swansea – Sinclair isn’t really making the direct impact Preston will have hoped he would have done yet.
That is something that will not be helped by the fact he has managed just three shots on target from nine attempts since January, suggesting he is yet to find both his range and confidence in front of goal following his return to the Championship, as indicated by his lack of total attempts in that time.
A further concern for Preston and Sinclair, will be that those struggles in front of goal, also appeared to have extended to his ability to create chances for his new teammates.
So far in Preston colours, Sinclair has yet to set up a single goal for a fellow North End man, and has only even laid on one shot for another member of Alex Neil’s side.
As a result, it seems Sinclair has yet to really rediscover the creative spark he has been associated with for so much of his career, something further highlighted by the fact he has attempted just five crosses – none of which have been successful – since his move to Deepdale, which will be another concern for Preston given he has often been used in the wide areas.
It is also likely that the frustration around those struggles to make things happen for Sinclair will be exasperated by the fact that a pass success rate of 82.3% implies that he has linked up well with his new teammates already, with the exception of when it comes to producing that all-important final ball into the danger area.
In fairness to Sinclair, it could be argued that part of the reason behind his slow start to life at Deepdale, is down to a combination of him still settling in at a new club, and shaking off the rustiness after a lack of game time for Celtic during the early part of the campaign.
Both parties will surely be hoping that that is indeed the case, otherwise this is a move that could lead into a long two years both for Preston, and Sinclair.