The January transfer window of 2021 saw Preston North End’s busiest in a long, long time as their squad ended up being much-changed.
Having only made one signing in the summer window of the 2020-21 season, Alex Neil signed no fewer than seven players but also had to lose the likes of Ben Pearson, Ben Davies and Darnell Fisher to pastures new.
This month is likely not going to be that hectic, but new manager Ryan Lowe will have had time to assess his squad since he arrived as Frankie McAvoy’s replacement in early December and he will know what he needs.
Quiz: Can you name which club Preston North End signed these 20 strikers from?
Let’s look at some transfer business that could occur by the end of the month at Deepdale.
Out: Josh Harrop
Harrop is quite simply the forgotten man at Deepdale this season – which is staggering to believe when he arrived over four years ago with much promise from Manchester United.
The attacking midfielder was supposed to be a player who North End could potentially sell on for millions but after an inconsistent first few seasons, the 2020-21 campaign proved to be a bad one as he ended up being farmed out on loan to Ipswich.
Having been on the bench twice this season in August, Harrop has not been seen since – he did pick up an injury around that time but having have no appearances in reserve games either his days look numbered and the club will surely be looking to ship him out this month.
In: Ryan Hardie
As per a Football League World exclusive, Lowe is eyeing up a reunion with a man he signed for Plymouth back in January two years ago in Hardie.
The 24-year-old has 12 goals to his name this season and with PNE light at the top end of the pitch, Hardie could be the ideal man to play alongside Emil Riis.
Hardie would cost a fee though with his contract up in the summer of 2023 and there is the added caveat that he used to play for Blackpool – which some fans won’t like!
Out: Ched Evans
Hardie’s potential incoming could pave the way for an exit for Evans, who has struggled for fitness this season.
Evans was a surprise signing last year from Fleetwood but he’s proven to be effective for the most part as a hold-up striker.
After spending three months out injured this season, the 32-year-old returned in November with goals against Middlesbrough and Fulham, but then saw himself sidelined for Lowe’s first match in charge against Barnsley.
With Wigan Athletic said to be interested in the Welshman and Evans potentially not fitting Ryan Lowe’s style, could the striker be heading for an exit despite the Lancashire Post suggesting that PNE want to keep him?
In: Regan Slater
It would be a shock if PNE added yet another central midfielder to their ranks this month as they are very well stocked in that area.
However North End have once again been linked with a swoop for Sheffield United youngster Regan Slater, who spent last season on loan at Hull City in their League One-winning campaign.
You’d imagine that the Tigers are front-running in the race for that one – Slater is a ball-winner with potential but Lowe has enough midfielders to choose from – stranger things have happened though.