Preston North End are sitting in mid-table in the Championship after 11 games, with their results on the road far superior to what they’re achieving at Deepdale.
The Lilywhites are suffering with some injury problems though, with Ben Pearson and Ben Davies both missing for a number of weeks, Louis Moult still on the sidelines after a knee injury suffered in August 2019, and now Alan Browne will miss the next few games due to a COVID diagnosis.
North End have quite a bit of depth to their squad, but some talented players are missing out on the 18-man matchday squad on a regular basis, including young stars Tom Bayliss and Josh Earl.
And with several contracts for key players due to expire in June, North End are facing a battle to keep their best talents, and if they can’t agree new deals then the vultures will no doubt circle in January.
Let’s look at two players who may be eyeing moves away from Alex Neil’s side in the next transfer window.
Bodin started North End’s first game of the season against Swansea, but was hauled off after 57 minutes after failing to make an impact.
Three games on the bench followed before picking up a knock, and he hasn’t been in a matchday squad since the 4-2 victory over Brentford at the start of October.
Neil used Bodin cutting in from the right wing regularly last season before he suffered an achilles injury, and when he recovered and returned after lockdown, he only saw eight minutes of league action in the final nine games of the season.
With no new contract for the Welshman in sight, Bodin may have to depart the club in order to get more first-team minutes, and at the age of 28 he will be wanting to start as many games as possible.
One of the most talented centre-backs in the Championship, Davies has attracted Premier League interest in the last year, with the likes of Sheffield United, Leicester City, Everton and Wolves all linked to his signature.
Left-footed defenders are a hot commodity and Davies can do it all. He’s strong, comfortable playing the ball out from the back and is relatively quick for his position.
Unfortunately for Preston fans though, they may not be seeing his talents in their kit for the foreseeable future, as he’s one of a number of stars who the North End hierarchy are struggling to tie down to a new long-term deal.
Davies can sign a pre-contract deal with any foreign club in January, which will no doubt intrigue Celtic once again and there has been reported interest from the Bundesliga as well.
That may alert Premier League clubs to try and secure him on a cut-price deal this January, and his departure would be a big blow to Preston’s play off push.