It has been a very challenging campaign for the Lilywhites in the Championship this term which has seen them regress somewhat and led to Alex Neil losing his job at Deepdale.
Frankie McAvoy has taken over on a temporary basis until the end of the campaign and he has managed to steady the ship and get the Lilywhites’ form back on track over the Easter period. Preston have managed to secure four points from a possible six in what looked like two very challenging matches against league leaders Norwich City and then promotion-chasing Swansea City.
Those results, if continued, would place McAvoy in with at least a shout of getting the job on a permanent basis in the summer. However, there are others in the running with Uwe Rosler’s name recently being reported as being a contender to add to the list of other potential managers they could appoint. Whoever takes over faces the task of rebuilding the squad in the summer.
With that in mind, we take a look at TWO potential Preston academy prospects that might emerge in the first-team and save the Lilywhites some funds this summer…
One promising player currently within Preston’s youth set-up is forward Jacob Holland-Wilkinson, who has been handed a place in North End’s matchday squad this campaign and also spent some time in and around the first-team squad on the training ground over the course of the season. The 18-year-old seems to have a lot of potential that could see him breakthrough next term.
The Lilywhites are going to potentially need to consider investing in their attacking options in the summer, with Ched Evans’ loan spell due to come to an end and also the likes of Jayden Stockley facing an uncertain future when he returns from his loan with Charlton Athletic. Preston have not really had anyone prolific upfront for the last few years and Scott Sinclair is their top scorer on nine goals this term.
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Holland-Wilkinson might well be an option that could save the club a lot of money in the long-term if he is able to come into the first-team squad and live up to the quality he seems to possess. Depending on how good he looks in pre-season, it might convince whoever is the next manager at Deepdale that they maybe do not need to spend as much in the attacking third as they might have thought.
Another potential academy prospect that could manage to make a positive difference to Preston’s first-team next term is defender Lewis Coutlon. Like Holland-Wilkinson, the 18-year-old has been working in and around the Lilywhites’ first-team squad on the training ground in recent times and has been included in the matchday squad throughout the campaign.
Coulton was also included in the matchday squad last time out against Swansea City. That suggests he is a player that has been able to impress McAvoy in training and shown that he could be ready to make an impact if called upon during the remaining matches of the season. Were the current caretaker manager to get the job on a permanent basis it could enhance his chances of playing.
The defender has shown plenty of potential during his performances with the club’s youth sides and was a standout performer in an FA Youth Cup tie against Lincoln City back at the start of the year. In the long-term, he could potentially save the Lilywhites a lot of money in the transfer market and might do this summer in his position, if it is deemed he is ready to make his mark.